Thursday, June 03, 2010

Big Girls Don't Cry - This Wide Night - Play Review

This Wide Night - Naked Angels at Peter Jay Sharp Theater in Playwrights Horizons - Off-Broadway, New York, NY - ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)
Written by Chloë Moss, Directed by Anne Kaufmann
Runs until June 27th 2010

Two unlikely women meet up again on the "outside" and try to adapt to life after their long prison sentences. It's a fascinating look at the lives women must face when they become "free" as they struggle to reintegrate back into society, but while Chloë Moss' play never seems to achieve a truly revelatory understanding of these women, This Wide Night lets Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie) and Alison Pill (Milk) showcase their masterful craft of acting in two astounding performances.

Edie Falco plays Lorraine, a woman who has just been released from prison, and shows up at her former cellmate Marie's flat (we are in Britain right now), looking to reconnect to their former close relationship, and only finds a new Marie (Allison Pill) trying to distance herself from her past.

Edie Falco and Alison Pill both bring such nuanced portrayals of these lost women. While Falco's British accent wavers just slightly (sometimes you can hear a bit of Carmella in there), her performance is nothing but unrecognizable. Falco's Lorraine deeply seeks a re-connection to her old friend as she struggles to find herself back into the free world, but Lorraine tries to mask her fear in an attempted cool and comfortable nature.

Alison Pill's Marie has been out in the real world a little longer and slightly better readjusted, but her former life and hangups creep up as Lorraine reappears into her life. Pill, a young actress with a worldly presence, simply proves how versatile and astounding she can be. Pill once appeared alongside Lindsay Lohan in a Disney movie, and now look how far and different Pill as become. Pill has appeared in numerous Broadway and Off-Broadway plays and secured herself as a bright young actress to watch for, and her performance here is just another stellar notch into her already esteemed resume.

The power of Falco and Pill's performances manages to upgrade Moss' play, which has a great base but needs some further rounding out. Kaufmann's direction and Rachel Hauck's set are wonderfully simple but secretly full of telling details. This Wide Night doesn't quite fulfill a fully rounded night out at the theatre but Edie Falco and Alison Pill's certainly give full and fascinating performances.

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com

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