Saturday, March 16, 2013

Belleville ***

(Please click on the title to see the complete review.)
I have extremely mixed feelings concerning Amy Herzog's thriller about the unraveling of a codependent relationship. On the one hand, the production values of this New York Theatre Workshop production are superb -- the acting (by Maria Dizza and Greg Keller as the couple and Pascale Armand and Phillip James Brannon as the landlords of their Parisian flat), direction (by Anne Kauffman), set design (by Julia C. Lee), costumes (by Mark Nagle) and sound design (by Robert Kaplowitz). As in her previous work, Herzog excels at creating vivid characters and capturing the twisted patterns of communications in close relationships. Also admirable is the way she builds a feeling of menace and paranoia. On the other hand, I found the big reveal about what underlies the current situation disconcertingly implausible and the denouement (annoyingly in French) unnecessary. Although Annie Baker seems to be the current darling of the lemming critics, I'll stick with Amy Herzog even at less than her best. Running time: one hour, 40 minutes; no intermission.

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