Thursday, April 18, 2013

QUICK TAKE REVIEW Too Brilliantly Close for Any Comfort By Beverly Creasey

If you haven’t discovered BAD HABIT Productions for yourself, allow me to introduce you to one of the brightest theater companies in town. Their ARCADIA two seasons ago picked up top honors at the Independent Reviewers Awards. Their GROSS INDECENCY was one of the best plays I saw last year. (Check to see if they do it at this year’s IRNE Awards on April 29th.) Here they go again with Patrick Marber’s CLOSER, his brilliantly cynical account of mating and dating in the new millennium (playing at the BCA thru April 28th).

In Marber’s opinion, people only want what they don’t have. Then they risk everything to get it and once they get it, they don’t want it anymore. The same goes for love. They chase it. They squander it. They lose it and they regret it. (CLOSER has been filmed with Jude Law, Julia Roberts, Clive Owen and Natalie Portman but Leonard Maltin cautions in his movie guide that it’s much better as a play.) I’m here to say it’s a ferocious play and director Susanna Harris Noon doesn’t stint on the cruelty. The Bad Habit production almost takes your breath away, it’s so savage (in the appropriate scenes, I mean). And these are Brits (!) behaving badly.

Noon’s cast is perfection. Angela Keefe can play gamine, then dangerous… pathetic, then powerful as the ex-stripper who is the object of affection, at one time or another, of both Glen Moore’s sophisticated, shallow novelist and Brooks Reeves’ desperate, exasperating dermatologist. Crystal Lisbon, too, is sensational as the photographer who knowingly acts against her own interests and throws in with a man she knows eventually will throw her over. You’ve never seen so many bad choices.

Marber’s dialogue is smart and hip---and yes, funny. You won’t guess where the play is going, even though you know there are only four characters. You wouldn’t want to get close to these people in real life but on stage, they’re riveting. Don’t miss the chance to see what a crackerjack company can do with a script.