Saturday, February 1, 2014

Intimacy **

The previous play I saw by Thomas Bradshaw -- "Burning" in 2011 -- made my Ten Worst list for that year, so I was not looking forward to Bradshaw's new X-rated comedy at The New Group. This muddled satire about sex in suburbia has lots of nudity and simulated sex but not much point. In the first act we are presented with the sexual proclivities of three neighboring families who get together in the second act to produce a neighborhood porn film. The graphic sex is more comical than erotic. The characters are a jumble of unconvincing traits and the plot, such as it is, makes very little sense. Bradshaw's desire to shock often serves no apparent purpose; he throws in a toilet scene with sound effects and a vomit scene to up the gross-out factor. A subplot about casual racism seems almost an afterthought. To see such fine actors as Daniel Gerroll, Laura Esterman and Keith Randolph Smith involved in this evoked a mixture of admiration and pity. David Anzuelo, Austin Cauldwell, Ella Dershowitz and Dea Julien all look good with their clothes off. Derek McLane's set with a candy color backdrop and quilted walls makes good use of the extremely wide stage. Director Scott Elliott also designed the costumes. Running time: 2 hours 15 minutes including intermission.

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