The language of Alexandra Gerstens caustically funny and equally painful examination of a crumbling marriage navigates perfectly between heightened lyric fancy and earthy reality. We begin with an ordinary breakfast routine between spouses that soon begins to simmer, then quickly boils over into a full-blown war over infidelity that defines Gerstens fascinating play. Johanna McKay offers a virtuoso performance as Elly, a frumpy housewife who throws down the gauntlet over her husbands affair. As husband Jack, Josh Randall keeps pace with McKay, making their epic battle as exciting and moving as the best of Edward Albees early work. Kelly (Heather Fox) the gorgeous, simple yet unapologetic object of Jacks straying is so comically brittle that the intensity of this production continues to grow. Only a bizarre set piece, in which a loony guidance counselor (played with caricatured frenzy by John Schumacher) comes to castigate Elly about her parenting, rings false. Fortunately, this scene fades from memory in Darin Anthonys otherwise exquisite staging. Sherry Linnells witty costume design is best exemplified by Ellys ugly, slobby sweats. Tom Buderwitzs naturalistic home interiors are set against a too-slick set of walls that detract from the über-reality of much of the plays action. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m.; Thu., March 27, 8 p.m. Starts: Feb. 29. Continues through April 5, 2008
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