The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings







Etcetera and
Short Term Listings


NYC Restaurants


New Jersey







Free Updates
A CurtainUp Review

That's the weight of the Eiffel Tower; I'd be giving birth to the Eiffel Tower.— (W)
No furniture, no scenery, no props, and no mime.&mdash Stage directions for Lungs
Brooke Bloom and Ryan King
Lungs by British playwright Duncan Macmillan at Barrington Stage Company's St. Germain Stage is a ninety-minute roller-coaster ride through the over-anxious psyches of two thirty-somethings locked in verbal acrobatics and self-conscious psycho-babble about procreative choices. In the riveting performances by Brooke Bloom (W) and Ryan King (M) we are the flies on the wall and our emotions are hijacked by this likeably, unlikeable couple who,by their own agonized machinations, manage to wring from the audience the memory of every indecisive, confusion-laden human experience.

Ostensibly it is a play about the decision to have a baby or not, during which the characters explore the trepidations of growing up and facing human shortcomings and failures from which they feel exempt. Yet, this couple must confront the pain of moving on once the prop of protective parents and endless years cocooned in a university fade away. What next?

Locked in mortal combat, they debate, dance and wrestle on a bare white, starkly lit, strikingly wrought set by Luciana Stecconi in a timeless couple's duet. They maintain that this is the worst of all times to bring a child into the world already crippled by over-population and global uncertainty as this generation faces ecological threats.

Obviously, they have never heard of the Black Death orThirty Years War or any of the other truly terrible times when humans confronted terrifying events. This is the first era, however, where most people have had choices in their reproductive decisions. This couple is the product of a privileged society able to pursue private interests (M is a musician, W is a PHD candidate.) They are hyper aware of the world and its dangers thanks to instant global communications, while at the same time enjoying the exhilaration of an actual choice in making life-altering decisions.

Their mental gymnastics and “over-think” sometimes makes us question the real hell we face. Instead of the external threats of nuclear annihilation or global warming, could it be the endless torture of self-doubt and second-guessing that plagues these two over-intellectualized, self-absorbed neurotics? The white hot lighting by Zach Blane allow us to examine this behavior in chilling, sometimes seat squirming recognition.

Bloom as W is at times poignant. She can also be maddening as she spews forth dizzying harangues, rants and tears at the sometimes hapless M who admits he is mesmerized by her brutal honesty and passion.

King's M 's visceral responses to his partner and his world act as the catalyst for this entire conversation. In comparison to W's double speak, his clumsy attempts to be a “good person” and to express his deep emotional attachment are both comical and touching.

M is the one who has opened this “conversation” about “the baby”while standing in line at Ikea, the great maze-like store that traps its hapless customers into wandering through nonlinear mass consumer product presentations to indeterminate destinations. Like the fragmented dialogue, and life itself, this couple has embarked on a journey whose every choice can only lead to another series of choices that may be as mundane or unpredictable as all of human existence. They want assurances of an exceptional life. We nod in pitying recognition.

This almost perfect, biting comedy is a tour de force by the actors, directed seamlessly by Aaron Posner where silences and subtext wash over the audience in waves of familiarity and discomfort.

The last few minutes project an unnecessary trip to the future, but the audience would be better served if the play ended as the couple takes an irrevocable path. Like the rest of humanity they will have to play out that choice to an undeterminable future. The audience can fill in the blanks. Welcome to Life!

Editor's Note: This is the Berkshire premier of this two hander. To read our DC critic's review, with the same actors playing the questioning couple go here.

Lungs by Duncan Macmillan
Directed by Aaron Posner
Cast: Brooke Bloom (W), Ryan King (M)
Scenic design:Luciana Stecconi
Lighting: Zach Blane
Stage Manager: Kate J. Cudwworth
Running Time: 90 minutes; no intermission
Barrington Stage Company's St. Germain Theatre, 36 Linden St., Pittsfield, MA
From 5/23/12; opening 5/27/12; closing 6/10/12.
Reviewed by Gloria Miller at 5/31/12 performance
Highlight one of the responses below and click "copy" or"CTRL+C"
  • I agree with the review of Lungs
  • I disagree with the review of Lungs
  • The review made me eager to see Lungs
Click on the address link E-mail:
Paste the highlighted text into the subject line (CTRL+ V):

Feel free to add detailed comments in the body of the email. . .also the names and emails of any friends to whom you'd like us to forward a copy of this review.

Visit Curtainup's Blog Annex
For a feed to reviews and features as they are posted add to your reader
Curtainup at Facebook . . . Curtainup at Twitter
Subscribe to our FREE email updates: E-mail:
put SUBSCRIBE CURTAINUP EMAIL UPDATE in the subject line and your full name and email address in the body of the message. If you can spare a minute, tell us how you came to CurtainUp and from what part of the country.
Slings & Arrows  cover of  new Blu-Ray cover
Slings & Arrows- view 1st episode free

Anything Goes Cast Recording Anything Goes Cast Recording
Our review of the show

Book Of Mormon MP4 Book of Mormon -CD
Our review of the show

©Copyright 2012, Elyse Sommer.
Information from this site may not be reproduced in print or online without specific permission from