Thursday, September 20, 2012

Grace ***

(Please click on the title to see the full review.)
If you want to see four fine actors in a satisfyingly complex play, don't wait too long to get a ticket for this limited run comedy/drama by Craig Wright, now in previews at the Cort Theatre. Steve and Sara (Paul Rudd and Kate Arrington) have recently moved to central Florida to open the first of a projected chain of biblically-themed hotels. Sam (Michael Shannon), their neighbor in the adjacent condo, is recovering from an auto accident that left him disfigured and his fiancĂ©e dead. Karl (Ed Asner), the crusty German immigrant who is the exterminator for the condo complex, has a dark episode in his past. Steve can't resist the opportunity to deliver a sales pitch, whether it is for God or for real estate. Stay-at-home housewife Sara is lonely and neglected. The play starts with a bang and, after a freeze frame, flashes back to describe how events reached this point. The ties between the occupants of the two apartments are intensified by Beowulf Boritt's clever, elegantly simple set that uses the same space to represent both condos simultaneously. (I now forgive him for the set that overpowers "If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet.") Dexter Bullard's direction is excellent. At times I thought the play had more style than substance, but that didn't diminish my enjoyment. Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes without intermission.

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