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Ladies and Gents
Ladies and Gents is billed as a "live-action noir thriller," with each half performed simultaneously in the two bathrooms. The audience is divided into two groups, who switch sides during the brief intermission. The two halves can be seen in either order.
Set in late-1950s Ireland, the play revolves around the underground recriminations that take place after a prominent politician is caught in a sex scandal and commits suicide in shame. Emily is a working-class prostitute, being pimped out by her husband, Watson. They think "Mr. X" is an important figure with furtive tastes and a need for secrecy. He's requested a rendezvous in the public bathrooms. "Billy" is a news photographer (we think) who's been hired to catch Emily and Mr. X in the act. But it seems Emily's and Watson's past dealings have caught up with them and their plans to capitalize on Mr. X are turned on them.
Very noir and, to say the least, very timely, this look at the sordid underbelly of sex is appropriately ssite specific. Each audience member is given a small space in which to stand and watch the action in Sinead McKenna's cunningly-lit bathrooms only inches from each viewer. The lighting is, in fact, the second star of the show. The bathrooms seem completely dark, until an actor steps into a perfectly placed (and perfectly noir) dim spotlight.
But the lighting does not outshine the Irish ensemble. While two key actors overlap both parts of the play, for the most part the two halves operate at a remove from the other. However, the acting and sound effects must sync in order for both halves to work, and so the actors are able to work almost in a vacuum and yet still retain an ensemble feel. Director Paul Walker (also the writer) has a light but unmistakable touch, in ways that become most apparent after the play is over.
I did say that there are no seats — so wear comfortable shoes.
Try onlineseats.com for great seats to
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The Playbill Broadway YearBook
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