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Adagio Teas
   Features  >  NY Theater Reviews

at the Julia Miles


  A scenw from the show/Photo: Carol Rosegg

There's a fine line between faux-naif and the real thing. Saviana Stanescu's script for Aliens with Extraordinary Skills- about two Russian clowns on the run from U.S. immigration agents - straddles that line uncomfortably. Take away one dicey scene (the male clown thinks it's appropriate to gratify himself while watching a stripper), and you have a topical scenario that could safely tour high schools.

Natalia Payne is appealing as Nadia, the female clown, even if her Moldovan eccent occasionally wavers. The two main male roles - Nadia's one-time partner, Borat (Seth Fisher), and her incipient romantic interest, Bob (Kevin Isola ) - both start out as men on the make, and they're ineradicably unsavory, even once tamed and tenderized by love.

The one reason to see this play is to catch the captivating Jessica Pimentel playing a stereotyped Dominican hot "mami." She's got the walk, the attitude, the snap, and she's unfailingly focused and funny. The stage sizzles to life every time she appears.

Director Tea Alagic does her best to enliven a paint-by-numbers script: for instance, she has the INS officers - well played by Shirine Babb and Gian Murray Gianino - race down the theatre aisles in pursuit, as well as race through their list of importunate questions. Even with Kris Stone's streamlined set, though, the pace often drags, primarily because the play's thesis - immigrants can have a tough time adapting - is so simplistic.


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