Editor/Publisher, Bina Sharif

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Neil LaBute

THE SHAPE OF THINGS by Neil LaBute is produced by VARIATIONS theatre group at long
Island City. Artistic directors,Rich Ferraioli and KirkGostkowski.
Getting to the theater in Long Island City was an adventure especially for me who hardly ever venture out of Manhattan theater scene and it was well worth it.
The theater space in itself is a little Intimate gem and the production of THE SHAPE OF THINGS was wonderful. The play is very well directed by Rich Ferraioli.

Neil LaBute has a patience of a saint as the dramatist. He keeps his surprises hidden till the very end unlike most of the contemprary writers of drama.
In most of the plays one can predict the ending of the play in the first fifteen or twenty minutes
but not here. He takes us on a journey of un expected steamy love between a shy nerdy kind of a guy named Adam played by, (Kirk Gostkowski) and a very confident, hip, Cosmopolitan kind of a gal named Evelyn played brilliantly by, (Alice Bahlke)

I missed the original Production of the play when it was done at Almeida Theatre, London
and I am happy that I didn't know the ending till it came.
But I do have to confess that I had an un-comfortable feeling about the love affair between Evelyn and Adam throughout the play because some body like Evelyn, so out going, so charismatic a woman won't fall for Adam who is not much of a love target for her but luckily even I didn't suspect that she was just using him for an art project and was willing to go all the way in the name of art to manipulate and hurt a real un-suspecting, trusting and kind human being. But that's the point of the play that in the name of art one can cross all bounderies and justify the cruelty to advance themselves.

My only hesitation about the plot of this play is that how many times one can see this play knowing the ending and still enjoy it? But still the writing is very sharp and hold your interest.
The whole cast does a very good job but I liked Deven Anderson as Phillip. He had that wit and humor and sarcasm which involves you fully in the actor playing the character.

Scenic artists: Stephanie Ferraioli and India Quimby was very clean and impressive. I loved the
Make believe paintings in those frames.
I just wondered about the platform used in the museum scene if it was necessary because it did work nicely in the first scene but was in the way of many later scenes which seemed cramped.
But all these are minor problems to be thought about in the future productions of the play and also I caught the play on the opening night with some rough spots...I still was very impressed by the whole cast, the crew and especially by Rich Frraioli's excellent direction and the fast
pacing he maintained throughout the play. Every one involved in this production was totally professional and exteremly hospitable. My companions and I enjoyed the evening very much. My Guest from London, Paul Shaw who had also missed this play in London loved it and so did Kevin Martin who is also a theater Critic and publisher of CINEMASTAGE.COM
I hope other theater goers will make an effort and see future productions by VARIATIONS theatre Group. My congratulations to the team for a great effort.

Reviewed by Bina Sharif

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