Posted in Diane Davis, Donald Marguiles, Florida retirement, holocaust survivors, Hubert Point-du Jour, Kathryn Grody, Mark Blum, Primary Stages

No escape in "The Model Apartment"

                                                       

Escape by definiion involves running away.

In Donald Marguiles’ “The Model Apartment,” two Holocaust survivors are fleeing the very present horror in their lives by retiring to
Florida.

Max (Mark Blum) and Lola (Kathryn Grody) move to their condo ahead of schedule. Since their apartment is not yet ready, they’re given the keys to “The Model Apartment.” 

There end all reasonable expectations of who and why.

In short order, Max and Lola’s daughter, Debby (Diane Davis) follows them from Brooklyn and terrorizes them.

Debby has absorbed all their Holocaust nightmares and memories in her idiot-savant brain.

Kathryn Gordy and Mark Blum in the Primary Stages production
of The Model Apartment © 2013 James Leynse.

Rounding out the cast is Hubert Point-du Jour, with a finessed portrayal of Debby’s dim-witted boyfriend.

Mark Blum’s Max stumbles through pain and denial while Kathryn Grody’s Lola suffers her anguish poignantly.  In a fine small ensemble, Diane Davis stands out as the cruelly mangled Debby.

 Diane Davis and Kathryn Grody in the Primary Stages
production
of The Model Apartment © 2013 James Leynse.

“The Model Apartment” turns out to be more of an “American Horror Story” than its frothy first act suggests. Lauren Halpern’s nicely detailed set exudes the false luxury that undermines Max and Lola’s journey as well. Under the guiding hand of director Evan Cabnet, the build and reveal in this fine new play are well-delivered.

For more information on “The Model Apartment,” please visit either 59e59.org or primarystages.org

Posted in 20-year anniversary revival, comedy, David Ives, Primary Stages, romantic comedy

It’s "All In The Timing"

The cast of ALL IN THE TIMING, CARSON ELROD, JENN HARRIS, MATTHEW SALDIVAR, LIV ROOTH and ERIC CLEM seated: 
director JOHN RANDO (left) and playwright DAVID IVES. photo © 2013 James Leynse.

Who is it that said “In comedy, as in life, it’s all in the timing?”

Whoever it was, David Ives is on board at any rate with his 6 short playlets, “All In The Timing,” in a Primary Stages revival at 59E59 Theaters through March 17. In its premier in 1993, this packet of one act comedies was hailed as masterly.

(l-r) MATTHEW SALDIVAR, LIV ROOTH and CARSON ELROD in the PRIMARY STAGES 20th anniversary production of ALL IN THE TIMING. photo © 2013 James Leynse.

Unfortunately, mere zaniness does not guarantee hilarity  Several of these sketches fall flat. Some contain the germ of a laugh; these are merely based on a funny premise Others are too tedious or too precious. Happily,  a couple are truly wonderful. All six of these one-acters are very off-beat.  A cafe pick up in “Sure Thing” runs through all the permutations of a flirtation in rapid fire.

 
(l-r) LIV ROOTH and CARSON ELROD in the PRIMARY STAGES 20th anniversary production of ALL IN THE TIMING. photo © 2013 James Leynse.

“The Philadelphia” hits a high-point on this– or admittedly, any– program. It’s at a fine tuneed level of absurdism.

 Ives coul d not have found a better cast to deliver this material. Carson Elrod does pratfalls and “tongue stoppers” with equal grace. Each fall and every syllable he delivers is a surprise no matter the set-up. In “The Universal Language,” Jenn Harris’s verbal slapstick is as screamingly funny as Elrod’s physical falls.

The theme of time and timing is cleverly picked up in the set design by Beowulf Boritt, who uses six different genres of clock to illustrate each skit. John Rando’s quick-paced direction respects the spirit of silliness in “All In The Timing.”

For more information about “All In The Timing,” please visit http://www.primarystages.org.