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Adagio Teas
   Features  >  NY Theater Reviews

at the Barrow Street Theatre

By Bill Stevenson

  Emily Ackerman, Jennifer R. Morris and Colleen Werthman/PH: Sara Krulwich

First performed by the downtown theater troupe the Civilians in 2001, and revised for this return engagement, Gone Missing consists of anecdotes and songs about lost objects, It may sound dry, but this brisk 75-minute show is funny, edgy, thought-provoking, and utterly original. In short, it's a real find.

The original Civilian cast members conducted the interviews that form the heart of Gone Missing. Among the most memorable people discussing their lost possessions are the tightly wound Laura (Jennifer R. Morris), who launches an elaborate campaign to retrieve a black Gucci pump, and a policeman (Stephen Plunkett), who recounts grisly discoveries made in the line of duty. There's also an interview with a fictional character named Dr. Palinurus, who talks about Atlantis, the Sargasso Sea, the Bermuda Triangle, Plato, and other subjects. "Sometimes we need to lose something before we can enjoy it," he notes.

Other (presumably real) people recall lost husbands, jobs, socks, puppets, rings, cell phones, Palm pilots, and even sanity. Director-writer Steven Cosson has concisely edited the anecdotes into an entertaining theater piece. Only near the end do a few serious monologues drag a bit.Michael Friedman wrote the nicely varied songs, which range from light and zippy ("La Bodega") to pretty and wistful( "Lost Horizon"). The seven-person cast-outfitted in matching grey suits-sings as well as they act. They're also adept at juggling various accents.

No choreographer is listed, and that's probably just as well since the angular movements in the opening number, "Gone Missing," are rather affected.

Overall, however, the Civilians' offbeat look at lost possessions is a smart, breezy summer diversion.


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