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A CurtainUp New Jersey Review
What I could see was how deliberately and desperately the play's two fine actors Ames Adamson and Catherine LeFrere were resolved to play off each other like seasoned vaudevillians and stay the course in a distended discourse. Yondorf's glib script focuses primarily on to what extent do stretching ethics and breeching morality take a parent in an attempt to both put the pressure on, as well as pull the wool over the eyes of a presumably intractable admission officer for a prestigious University.
One answer is that it takes about ninety-five very long minutes. For the other answer, you can expect the route involves a lot of bantering and badgering amidst a little bedlam. As directed by Carpenter as if the incredulous plot could not stand on its own modest merits. Admit One also gives the impression that it might have originally been conceived as a sharply sardonic look at the way college applicants are assessed and considered. It somehow has lost its way. . . just a guess.
The scene is a bedroom suite at the Waldorf Astoria where the tall, imposing Howard Everett (Ames), a wealthy contributor to the fictitious Giddings University, has surreptitiously arranged a meeting with Mary Sue (LeFrere), a hopefully receptive and malleable admissions officer. His mission is to be assured there will be no obstacle or revelation standing in the way of his son's application to Giddings.
The fact that Mary Sue has been persuaded to fly in from wherever for this meeting seems as unlikely and as absurd as the meeting itself proves to be. Both are aware of the delicacy of this unorthodox assignation and the potential for it to either compromise or define them individually or expose their motives. Our interest is piqued a bit as they play a kind of cat and mouse game through some initial and mildly amusing cordialities. These, however, lead them unwittingly into the kind of antic, inane behavior that we haven't witnessed since the Marx Brothers ordered Room Service, something that these two do and admittedly very well.
It is never made clear or pertinent why a bathroom door that won't stay closed becomes a repeated bit of shtick in the play, or why it becomes necessary for the imposing Everett to get undressed and change into a bathrobe after Mary Sue spills a little water on his suit? But it does give us time out from the relentless chatter about what are the reasons and the criteria on which colleges accept or deny applicants notwithstanding grades, the playing of La Crosse, sustaining injuries, and the advent of a life-threatening illness.
Soon enough we are privy to the increasingly convoluted and contrived machinations that the extremely wealthy benefactor Everett has devised to manipulate Mary Sue. Despite his disclosure that his son is gay but that a date-rape accusation has been made by a young woman who attends the same prep school academy, it appears that she may have even better credentials than his son to get into Giddings. He has a plan.
As things go, the script shows signs of intelligence in its premise, even if Carpenter's direction keeps the characters confined to preposterous posturing and the kind of indicating meant to let people know what is funny. There are incredible as well as incredulous turning points in the positions taken by Everett, whose misuse of speech defines him as a male Mrs. Malaprop and by Mary Sue who personality turns in short order from being tentative to boldly assertive and self-assured.
One is apt to wonder how an educated and savvy woman appears awed not only by her first visit to New York since childhood (really?) but also by the luxurious amenities (what about that broken door and a treacherous raised floor board?) at the Waldorf Astoria (nice work by scenic designer Jessica Parks). I'll admit that you are more likely to wonder long before Admit One is over (spoiler alert), who was kidding whom all along and why.
Book of Mormon -CD
Our review of the show
Slings & Arrows-the complete set
You don't have to be a Shakespeare aficionado to love all 21 episodes of this hilarious and moving Canadian TV series about a fictional Shakespeare Company