Tuesday, June 16, 2015

SIgnificant Other ***

After the success of his play “Bad Jews," Joshua Harmon is back at Roundabout’s Laura Pels Theatre with a new comedy-drama about Jordan Berman (Gideon Glick, in a breakout performance), a depressive 29-year-old gay New Yorker, and his three gal pals — Kiki (the hilarious Sas Goldberg), Vanessa (Carra Patterson) and Laura (the wonderful Lindsay Mendez). The play might have been called “Three Weddings and a Meltdown.” As his three friends find husbands and have less time for him, Jordan feels the deepening pain of not having his own significant other and the growing fear that he never will. John Behlmann and Luke Smith play the three husbands as well as three men that Jordan fails to connect with. Finally, there is the superb Barbara Barrie as Jordan’s grandmother, who has outlived her friends and whose mind may be slipping. I found the play irritating and moving in almost equal measure — irritating in that it too often goes for the easy laugh and moving in its wrenching portrayal of loneliness. I thought that at times the playwright was trying too hard to entertain, but the audience, at least 30 years younger than the usual subscription profile, seemed to be loving it, greeting every line, funny or not, with nervous laughter. It’s one of the rare plays where the second act is better than the first, with two stunning monologues for Jordan. The high quality of the acting elevated the material. Mark Wendland’s set impressed me as unnecessarily complicated and not very attractive. Kaye Voyce’s costumes were excellent. Trip Cullman’s direction was a bit overheated for my taste. Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes, including intermission.

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