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A CurtainUp New Jersey Review
To give heft and a sensational aspect to Nita's rather traditional immigration story, he fabricates one with her approval with the promise of money and fame. In it, she describes her experiences of being sexually abused by her father in the basement of their Midwestern home. The catch is that the story containing details of her sexual bondage is not only being peddled as a personal memoir but the shocking confession that she enjoyed the humiliation and subjugation.
Ant (as he weirdly likes to call himself) believes he can pass himself off as her mentor and protector while he peddles the horrific details and fake revelations. The sheer perversity of her highly graphic story and the guiltless gall of the otherwise meek and unassuming writer is a bit hard to swallow. Abetted by director Erica Gould, the playwright has done what he can to make the most repellent aspects of the scam amusing and shocking. This keeps us off balance and off guard with regard to the moral and ethical boundaries that are being crossed and exploited. Some may find that the plethora of four letter expletives in the text inflict unnecessary padding to a play that takes more than two hours to unravel.
Unsurprisingly, Ant — like Svengali— harbors a crush on his at first insecure Trilby-like subject. Expectedly, they get the attention of Ronnie Lowe (Judith Hawking) a motor-mouthed, ruthless literary agent and Tyrell (Gregory Haney) her preening/posturing, homosexual sidekick photographer. Their efforts create a public frenzy and a media stir and end up with a best seller.
I'll give the playwright credit for his consideration of how easily fiction can be passed off to the public as fact. However, there are holes in the plot: the presumption that background checks by investigators and the media don't expose the perpetrators right away, or how long it takes for the fiercely hyper Ronnie and the flagrantly volatile Tyrell to realize they are being duped. In contrast, Ware evolves neurotically from being in-over-his-head to simply being out of it. This, while Khoshnoudi, who rides the tide smoothly from innocence to sophistication. Some may find this play, with nicely fluid settings by Jessica Parks, an unwieldy confluence of disparate dramatic and performance styles, but I rather liked the convergence of the credible with the preposterous.
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