I have a big stack of theater and opera programs stretching back over the spring, waiting to be written up as a diary entry, but I want to jump the line because I just got home from seeing a terrific new play off-Broadway that deserves attention and, since in the nature of things such plays presented by repertory companies have limited runs, I want to do my part and get the word out. The play is “Good Television,” written by Rod McLachlan and directed by Bob Krakower, presented by Atlantic Theater Company at their smaller, experimental subterranean theater on West 16th Street in Manhattan. Tonight’s performance (Thursday, June 6) was sold out, undoubtedly due to the sterling review in yesterday’s NY Times.
The premise: A TV reality show based on attempting to treat addicts of various kinds. The line producer is an addiction counselor who, accompanied by a team of camera/sound people, films interviews with the addict, family members, and other important people in the addict’s life, hoping to achieve an intervention that will result in the addict going into treatment, straightening out their life, and providing a happy ending to the series. Of course, you know something like this is not necessarily going to run smoothly, there will be complications, and so we end up having a gripping show!
I thought everything about this production was superb – the writing, the directing, the acting, the sets, the music, the lighting…. just everything. The length is just right for the material, about 100+ minutes with one intermission, and the production is well paced to grab your attention and hold it. The cast are all standouts, but I was especially impressed by Zoe Perry, who plays the long-suffering sister of the addict, Clemmie (Clemson) MacAddy, who is compellingly portrayed by John Magaro. But the central characters are the sister, Brittany, and the producer/counselor, Connie, played by Kelly McAndrew. The rest of the cast are excellent as well — Jessica Cummings, Talia Balsam, Andrew Stewart-Jones, Luke Robertson, and Ned Van Zandt — but I was especially impressed by Ms. Perry, who was excruciatingly good.
Don’t hesitate – limited run – highest endorsement!