Thursday, September 8, 2016

reviews - 3C - Nearly Naked Theatre

Alexia Lorch, Clayton Westbrook, and Tallie Hartley
photo: Laura Durant

highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through September 24th.

 "David Adjmi's 3C is a dark and very adult satirical take-off on the hit 1970s TV sitcom "Three's Company." ...attempts to show the dark underbelly of the goings on in that famous Santa Monica apartment.Since he focuses more on the serious, creepy and depressed nature of the familiar TV show characters and the situations they encounter and drops virtually all of the humor of those situations, it's a bit of a shock, especially if you're expecting a laugh-filled R-rated sitcom on stage. Nearly Naked Theatre presents the Arizona premiere of the play with a game cast, fairly good direction, and fun period-perfect creative elements (including a replica of the TV show set.) They all do their best to make the most of what they've been given, but unfortunately, even a talented cast and director can't do much with a meandering script and a concept not taken to its fullest extreme....While the setup and characters are almost identical to the series, Adjmi adds in nudity, profanity, and sexual situations along with a deep feeling of regret and depression. But his writing is lacking in character development and provides no real plot. He also adds an uncomfortable and creepy sexual predator in the part of Mr. Wicker, who has a squirm-inducing scene with Linda that will make you feel like you need to take a shower afterward. ... Damon Dering's cast does a pretty good job of bringing these familiar characters to life on his (and Paul Wilson's) excellent knock-off of the original "Three's Company" living room set—albeit a dirty, dusty and broken down version of the apartment that has seen much better days. Tallie Hartley is very good as Linda. She has the measured line delivery and appropriately awkward looks to portray this depressed alcoholic who is obsessed about her weight and lets other characters continually use her in inappropriate ways. As Brad, Clayton Westbrook is pretty good. While he may lack the comical pratfall abilities of John Ritter and underplays the part to a degree, he exhibits a nice tone and demeanor and toward the end of the play, when he has a crying fit that turns to laughter, he perfectly shows the character's conflicted feelings without saying a word....Dering's direction is fine, considering this is a very weird play, so the tone shifts constantly, and not all of his cast is expert in playing everything that is required of them. ...On one hand I could say that Adjmi's script is half-baked, tries to be dark and dirty, but doesn't quite succeed on either count, and that by cutting out the humor it ends up being dull and depressing. But on the other hand, I can't stop picturing the fake, forced, happy looks and nervous, uncomfortable laughter that Hartley and Westbrook expertly display to hide their characters' deep depression and self-hatred, and I'm still thinking about the pain of those two characters a couple of days after seeing this production. If you go in thinking you're going to see a laugh-filled, racy version of "Three's Company" you will most likely be disappointed. So shake that expectation. Full of depressed characters, hidden sexual orientation, and some slightly disturbingly creepy lecherous acts, this is like a surreal alternative universe version of what really happened in that apartment without the laugh track and after the TV cameras stopped rolling."  -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

"...The first requirement of satire, particularly one so dark, is that it’s actually, you know, funny, and “3C” is anything but. Instead, it’s a descent into cultural and psychological dysfunction performed as if it were a farce, and the results are, in a word, nauseating...."  - Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic (click here to read the complete review)

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