À LA CARTE: A FEAST OF NEW PLAYS
Plays inspired by Food
by the Playwrights of The WorkShop Theater
Directed by Leslie Kincaid Burby
312 West 36th Street, 4th floor
(bet. 8th and 9th Avenues)
Through May 2
Review by Ronald Gross
NY Theater Buying Guide
BOTTOM LINE: Our highest recommendation! The most exciting new work of the Off-Broadway season. Six brilliant short plays by superb writers, performed by a stunningly talented cast and superbly orchestrated by a masterful director. A must for enterprising theater-goers!
Everyone in New York these days is one of another kind of foodie! So this brilliantly-conceived evening brings us six portrayals of people who relate variously to victuals: to eat or be eaten, to cook for Pussy Riot or to get pregnant, and to make contact with your deceased Mom or to find out if you’re gay.
Among the array of finely etched characters you’ll get to know an AWOL solider who haunts the Port Authority, a guy who wakes up to find himself inside Leviathan with an angel, Jesus Christ (who’s really pissed of at the lousy YELP review he’s gotten for his loaves and fishes – “the fish was…dry”), and others that range from the deeply moving to the farcically hilarious.
The entire ensemble is astonishingly talented. Outstanding were Tess Frazer and Joe Boover as the young troubled pair who work out their fates together in the Port Authority;
Robert Bruce McIntosh and Desiree Matthews as a couple who bring down the house when they open their opus completely covered in bedsheets, trying to follow the instructions in a manual on how to conceive; Cody Keown and Joe Boover (he’s one of several actors who do double duty) in a gay escapade involving popcorn; C. K. Allen and Lauren Riddle as a would-be suicide and his rescuer; Allen again, together with Bob Manus as Jesus, in a Biblical send-up; and Susan Izatt and Mary Ruth Baggott in the poignant memory-play finale.
Please, WorkShop Company: Let’s have a another half-dozen courses from this delectable menu.
TIPS: Speaking of eating, a “find” for your pre-theater dinner is Stella 34 Trattoria implausibly ensconced in Macy’s on the 6th floor. Also, to add to your enjoyment of the evening, check out the 2-minute video interviews with the director and some of the performers, on the WorkShop website (www.workshoptheater.org).