Closer

A sharp, savvy, often visceral work, Patrick Marber’s unblinking probe into the modern-day battle of the sexes emerges bloodless and unaffecting under Vincent Duque’s direction. Structured in short, biting segments, Marber’s caustic tale revolves around Dan (Mark Kay), a sardonic writer of obituaries; Alice (Jacqueline Jandrell), a saucy gamine and former stripper whom he rescues from a near-death hit-and-run; Anna (Kirsty Hinchcliffe), a mature and gracious professional photographer with whom Dan becomes enthralled; and Larry (Stefan Hajek), Alice’s loving and eventually bitterly betrayed husband. The quartet engage in a round of sexual trysts and emotional pyrotechnics initiated by the faithless, manipulative Dan, in which everyone ultimately loses. The production’s glaring problem has to do with a lack of chemistry. Obviously, a play detailing raw sex and the search for love calls for plenty of it; here, the sparks fail to fly. This is especially true of Kay’s Dan, in relation to both women. He’s genial and understated, where he needs to be edgy and provocative for the play to make sense. Jandrell, in various states of undress throughout, postures or vents rather than probing Alice’s vulnerability. Hajek is capable as a wounded male irretrievably bent on revenge, and Hinchcliffe is sympathetic as his guilt-ridden wife. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: Feb. 29. Continues through March 29, 2008


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