Seat Filler: ’s Guide to Theater
BY Brandon Voss
June 07 2010 1:15 PM ET
In Elizabeth Meriwether’s Oliver Parker! a powerful but poorly titled black comedy about an unhealthy friendship that played through June 6 at the Cherry Lane Theatre, Rescue Me’s remarkable Michael Zegen starred as Oliver, a lost 17-year-old who wanted to get laid. Night Court’s John Larroquette was devastating as the guilt-crippled Jasper, Oliver’s 60-year-old former driver, who drinks cheap vodka and coughs blood in a squalid New York apartment Oliver paid for. Oliver wears a skintight skeleton costume and underwear as he attempts to seduce a pill-popping congresswoman and her feisty female aide, but the play takes an unsettling turn when the bomb drops that Jasper molested — or “diddled” — Oliver when he was 9 years old. Since Jasper is ostensibly straight, the play did a decent job of distancing pedophilia from homosexuality.
Starring as Tobin Falmouth, a New York writer of young adult novels in The Metal Children, which runs through June 13 at the Vineyard Theatre, Billy Crudup seems to be one of the few cast members who knows he’s in a play by Adam Rapp (Anthony Rapp’s brother), which is raw, edgy, and bluntly naturalistic by nature. Others in this clever but frustratingly uneven drama, which follows Tobin as he travels to a small town in the American heartland to defend one of his books that’s been banned — perhaps justifiably? — by the local school board, play their roles a bit too broadly, even as Rapp, who also directs, dips a toe into the realm of magical realism. Connor Barrett costars as a closeted gay teacher obsessed with the novel, and omnipresent out performer David Greenspan does double duty as Tobin’s gay-ish book agent and a priest.
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