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Adagio Teas
   Features  >  NY Theater Reviews

at 59E59 Theaters


  Will Sarratt and Lisa Jill Anderson/ Ph: Hunter Canning

MO-mmm!” Every mother of an adolescent will at some point be subjected to that super-annoyed two-note descant. It’s the underlying motif in the opening scene of Stephen Brown’s charming chamber play. Nineteen-year-old Tommy (Will Sarratt) is trying to record an upbeat video to send to … actually, we don’t know whom, for a good portion of the 90-minute play. He bridles as his over-solicitous mother, Anne (Marcia Debonis), hovers at his bedroom door, nattering and interrupting his flow.
We get the tiniest scintilla of a bad-boy vibe when Tommy offhandedly alludes, on the tape, to an “incident” at Applebee’s that got him barred (and nearly arrested). It’s a miscue, though; this kid is essentially a doofus, as quickly becomes apparent when he tries to chat up Alice (Lisa Jill Anderson), his icy supervisor at Starbucks. One passing mention of that Applebee’s incident, though, and bam, they’re bonding.
Tossed into the mix is a fledgling therapist, Dave (Xavier Rodney), a fellow Walmart employee whom Anne enlists to help Tommy work on his anger issues. That Rodney is a rank beginner in the field becomes hilariously obvious as of their initial appointment.
It’s so rare, and delightful, to experience a play that’s doesn’t overreach yet manages to achieve a seemingly effortless profundity. Parents’ essential task is to achieve obsolescence. To do so requires weathering the flashes of heartbreak that illumine the path. This modest, clever play lights the way with tears (Anne’s are abundant) and laughter.


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