Embraceable Me – Off Broadway Theater Review
ALL THEY WANNA DO IS TALK TALK
by Cindy Pierre
published November 1, 2009
now playing at The Kirk on Theater Row
through November 14
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.
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.
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.
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.