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american river, a new play

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I had a good surprise at Theatre for the New City tonight. Still upset that I missed Buddy Guy on Wednesday, I trekked downstairs for American River, a production of the lesser america company .I usually don’t like going to a basement unless there’s a pool table or an air raid, but the set designed by Daniel Zimmerman transformed the usually grim TNC cellar into a grim-less small town, simple and real.  The audience was filled with pretty women in their 30’s, perhaps friends of the writer, Micheline Auger, who has already built up a lot of steam with various theatre companies, starting with her first play Poop- A True Story. Ah titles.  American River is about a couple of meth addicts and the incredible difficulties they face in breaking patterns. The writing is fast and funny, but always with a sense of trouble ahead of more trouble. Ms. Auger seems to really understand the addiction dance and the dialogue is authentic. The middle section becomes a bit more surreal, with a wise-ass gay pizza guy, Brendan Spieth, doing send ups that are fun, though a bit wearing. By the third section, and the entrance of the dealer, we are all just relieved to know the baby hasn’t been thrown out with the bath water.  The actors are all terrific, Laura Ramadei, as Liz, is a force, challenging her boyfriend, talented Robbie Collier Sublett, at every turn. They are fun to watch, though I don’t know who decided that she should wear only underpants through a great deal of the play. Her body is great, but it’s a distraction and wasn’t necessarily to establish her lifestyle. John Patrick Doherty as the cool dealer dude is at once both frightening and charming. Solid directing by Stephen Brackett – he seems like a good pairing with Ms. Auger. Hope to see more of them all.

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Written by nancykoan

July 13, 2012 at 4:58 am

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