I really enjoy a good two-hander. The stage dance between two actors who click with one another is so satisfying. I think of THE NORTH POOL at the Playhouse or TAKING SHAKESPEARE at Human Race Theatre last year and marvel at how a verbal duel can be so dramatic.
SEX WITH STRANGERS is a very well-written play, with lots of romantic intrigue and witty dialogue and great potential for that type of dualistic battle. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. Maybe it was off the night I saw it – but I just didn’t think the performance clicked on all cylinders.
Director KJ Sanchez has cast the show with two seasoned actors, Nancy Lemenager and Nicholas Carriere. Their chemistry was lacking and I wasn’t sucked in at all by their relationship. I just didn’t get some of the choices, some of the line delivery, or the overall tone of the production.
“Ethan” is supposedly brash, obnoxious, yet somehow charming. Instead, he came off as dumb, fake, and a little effeminate. I was irritated by the performance more than anything. “Olivia” felt more authentic to me but still didn’t engage me in the way I’m accustomed to in this space.
The writing is contemporary and sharp and funny enough. The set design was homey and the costumes functional. It was a good choice for the season and it is a good play . . . but its not one that I’ll remember.
SEX WITH STRANGERS runs through October 25th at the Thompson Shelterhouse at the Playhouse in the Park. Click here for tickets.