Stage and Cinema film and theatre reviews
 

Embraceable Me – Off Broadway Theater Review 

 

ALL THEY WANNA DO IS TALK TALK

 

picture - Embraceable MeTheater Review

by Cindy Pierre

published November 1, 2009

 

Embraceable Me

now playing at The Kirk on Theater Row

through November 14

 

Building and maintaining romantic relationships is never easy. Victor L. Cahn's new couples drama, Embraceable Me, not only supports this statement, it goes so far as to make relationships seem laborious and painful.  Despite some sharp dialogue from the writer that brought us last year’s brilliant Sherlock Solo, it's 80 minutes of nothing more than two characters united by writing (she's a journalist, he's a copy-editor), conversing with one another and the audience about their unsteady coupling.  No, it's not interactive, but you'll feel like you've been put to work as the actors engage you time and again in a strategy that only works in short stints and begs to be spliced with action. 

 

The plot may not answer the call for variety, but Sarah B. Brown's scenic design does, to the show's detriment.  In an effort to represent the transient nature of Edward (Scott Barrow) and Allison's (Keira Naughton) history together, Brown superimposes illustrations of a sidewalk unto the innards of Edward's shabby chic apartment.  The external scenery, also functioning as an enclosure, fences Edward's introvert nature in as he continues to move from one rural location to the next.  Despite the statement that this formation makes about Edward's personality, the set is simply too busy.  As if the stage weren't cluttered enough, Brown adds two seats on the opposite sides of the foreground to allow for the constant monologuing.

 

Under Eric Parness' direction, Naughton and Barrow display some chemistry together, but they are both at their best when they are being cheeky to the audience. However, partially because several lines are fumbled and partly because Cahn's writing favors wit over warmth, Embraceable Me won't make you feel all gushy inside.

 

What Embraceable Me will make you feel is a need to free yourself from the clutches of monotony.  While the production strives to make you receive these characters or understand why they keep receiving each other, you may be more inclined to keep it at arm's length.

 

cindypierre @ stageandcinema.com

 

 
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