Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Good Mother *

(Please click on the title to see the full review.)
Ads for Francine Volpe's new play at The New Group describe it as a "taut psychological thriller." I wish! It's anything but taut, devoid of thrills, and psychological only in the sense that much of the dialogue is psychobabble. Larissa (Gretchen Mol) is a 33-year-old single mother with an autistic 4-year-old daughter. In a series of scenes with her goth babysitter Angus (Eric Nielsen), her truck driver date Jonathan (Darren Goldstein), her former group therapist and mentor during her teen years -- and father of Angus -- Joel (Mark Blum), and an ex-boyfriend cop Buddy (Alfredo Narciso), we see several aspects of Larissa which still fall far short of creating a coherent character. The fine cast struggles valiantly, but they have little to work with. Scott Elliott's sluggish direction only emphasizes the play's flaws. I liked the set by Derek McLane -- a tacky living room with knotty pine walls, an overstuffed sectional and lace curtains. Cynthia Rowley's costumes were fine too. Applause was tepid at best at play's end. Running time: 95 minutes, no intermission.

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