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A CurtainUp Review
By Nicole Watson
"What is the difference between a gay man and black woman?" Ben asks. Apparently nothing. Both go through the disasters of failed relationships, the joy of finding love, and the complications that true love brings.
What makes Ben and Lia's friendship unique is the fact that it exists via the exchange of letters, "real letters" slipped under each other's doors. In an age where email and text messaging are the norm for communication, Lia (Shamika Cotton) and Ben (Richard Gallagher) bring back the dying art of letter writing. They share some of their most intimate secrets through these exchanges while agreeing to never acknowledge their friendship in public. Moreover, they both share an obsession with the daytime soap, Through The Hourglass starring Trixie Evans (played with delightful camp by Ashley West). Selections of the soap are presented on two television screens and video projections are used to highlight some of the imagery in the letters. This keeps the play seamless and uncluttered.
Cotton and Gallagher have a wonderful chemistry and Gallagher is particularly captivating as Ben. Steven (Ryan Tresser), Ben's boyfriend is a welcome addition to the story.
The play is about 2 hours long and a few of the "letters" could have been shorter.
Steven's entrance into the play provides a much needed change. Jay Randall gives a standout performance as Freddie, an inmate who may or may not have had something to do with Ben's disappearance. Randall's performance is one that evokes fear as well as interest and his storyline is an unexpected surprise.
Missives is extremely enjoyable. The cast is solid and even though much of the play is the performance of written letters, Groenveld's writing, along with Elysabeth Kleinhans' clean and careful directing, prevents the play from becoming a stagnant recitation. The intimate setting at 59E59 is a perfect venue for this sneak peek into the lives of these two New Yorkers.
The play's one fault is that the audience learns at the very beginning that something terrible has happened to Ben. Because of this, there is no real suspense given that we know at the very beginning the same thing we know at the end. In spite of this, this exploration of these two friends and neighbors is worth seeing and not be missed.
Try onlineseats.com for great seats to
The Little Mermaid
Shrek The Musical
The Playbill Broadway YearBook
Leonard Maltin's 2007 Movie Guide