Tryst

  • Our critic's rating:
    Date:
    July 1, 2011

    Review by Tulis McCall

    This is a fascinating play that goes in a bunch of surprising directions. What begins as another tale of a man taking advantage of a woman because it is easier than working for a living, becomes something else altogether.

    Told as part narrative and part straight play, this play, set in 1910 England, tells the tale of George (Mark Shanahan) who has spent the better part of the past few years finding lonely women of some means (this is back when £50 was considered a small fortune), marrying them, making love to them, and then leaving town with their money. Of course once they got married it became his money, didn’t it?

    This is not a pretty picture of an era. But it is not theatre’s job to be pretty which is why Karoline Leach’s script is refreshing. In the hands of Shanahan the tale shines like a copper penny. Andrea Maulella as Adelaide does not fare so well, having chosen a physical manner that comes closer to a woman with Tourette Syndrome rather than a single woman who, when push comes to shove, looks directly into the empty chasm she fancied was a happy life. This is very problematic because the force of the tale relies on us to believe and empathize with Adelaide. Maulella doesn’t’ get in the way of the tale, but she does little to enhance it.

    Once the marriage is carried off, it is the rest of the caper that is thrown into question. The tale does not spin out in a hum-drum way, but opens to unexpected possibilities that keep time with the characters’ changes. It is a challenging tale that, with the exception of the conclusion that is, in a word, sophomoric, brings a woman of a certain age to the stage in all her well-earned colors.

    With the support of this wonderful set, the story is revealed in all its sad little details. This is a visual delight and then some, even though it was staged – as are nearly all the shows in this theatre, to play to the larger section of the audience. The audience sitting in the left alcove got to see a lot of these actors’ profiles. Why do they do that again and again?

    (Tulis McCall)

    "Frequently interesting yet ultimately unfocused."
    Ken Jaworowski for New York Times

    "Delicious tension."
    Frank Scheck for New York Post

    "Maulella and Shanahan give awe-inspiring performances."
    Suzy Evans for Back Stage

    External links to full reviews from popular press...

    New York Times - New York Post - Back Stage