Open: 04/14/10- Close: 04/18/10
Swimming In The Shallows|
Reviewed for TheaterOnline.com By: Heather Violanti
SWIMMING IN THE SHALLOWS is one of Adam Bock's early successes--a bittersweet comedy about relationships, marriage, and sharks that displays Bock's eye for the surreal amidst everyday Americana. In the Light Theater's revival at Shetler Studios certainly captures the play's strange charm. It's an enjoyable production that for all its laughs doesn't always grasp the play's poignant layers
The play paints a picture of everyday life in present day Rhode Island that seems perfectly ordinary...at first. Carla Carla feels secure in her relationship with her girlfriend, Donna...until Donna suggests they get married, a step that Carla Carla isn't sure she's ready for, especially if Donna keeps smoking. Their friend Nick seems perfectly content with his own life of one night stand with guys who never call again....until he falls for the Shark (yes, a real shark) at the aquarium where Donna works. And mutual friend Barb seems happy in her suburban paradise with husband Bob....until she reads that some Buddhist monks in Thailand own only eight things...and she feels weighted down by all her possessions.
Douglas S. Hall ably directs a six member ensemble of actors who easily embrace the material's quirkiness. Most of the cast have been working in repertory under Hall's supervision for six years. They are certainly comfortable with one another, but they don't always click as couples. Tony Travostino's lonely Nick is clearly passionately attracted to Thomas Gibbons' ubercool rollerblading Shark, but Lisa Reigel's Carla Carla and Laura DeCerto's Donna never quite achieve believable romantic chemistry. As suburban everycouple Barb and Bob, Kathryn Gerhardt and Michael Edmund master their characters' offbeat humor, but their transformation into questioning souls is not completely realized.
Still, the production exudes an air of enchantment. The cast is completely believeable as an ersatz family, particularly in the joyously goofy dance sequences, or the quiet, confidential conversations on the beach. The simple set design--consisting of just some platforms and a blank screen onto which photos of settings are projected--creates a suitably abstract world for a work that plays with the magic of theater, where a man and a shark can fall in love and meet for coffee. In all, it's a memorable, funny evening.
Shetler Studios : 244 West 54th Street (12th Floor) B