By Guy Giarrizzo and Scott Manus Directed by Guy Giarrizzo
Theater 3 | Review by Nicholas Moore
Every time you glimpse up at an apartment window, imagine two people are inside, engaged in hot, unholy sex. Wait, you don't have to imagine, it's really happening . . And these two commit this act in the face of one very simple truth: sex and love in the city can be a dirty business. For those brave enough to hunt it down (like our bedroom lovers) and join the emotionally exhausting rat race, filled with shame and bitterness, Seductive Acts, smartly directed by Guy Giarrizzo, will gladly indulge any of your anxieties and/or paranoia concerning the matter. Martin (Adam Nelson) and Paige (Andrea Maulella) met in their therapist's waiting room and fell in love kind of. Well, they're both desperate and coming off bad break-ups (as opposed to good ones), and they do have great sex with each other ...sure, they fell in love. In actuality, that's just a word for it; both are a little self absorbed and distracted, so they're not quite sure what they've got yet. The desperately neurotic duo live in a sitcom-like world swarming with love-starved singles willing to swallow their bitter frustrations and hold out for true romance. If that's even one of the options. It's a city where your friends, thankfully, are more screwed up than you, and answering machines talk back, making sarcastic quips at your feeble, failed efforts to find somebody to love. The script, co-writ ten by Scott Manus and Giarrizzo, is light and enjoyable live television. Each scene is fueled by just one idea which is usually dragged a bit too far,
But the play's clever moments are nailed by a terrific ensemble cast headed by the quirky, manic performances of Adam Nelson and Andrea Maulella.
It deals with three Manhattan couples: Bill (Michael Bassett) and Danielle (Dana Bledsoe) are devoted to sex. Jonathan (David Folwell) and Blythe (Malindi Fickle) are devoted to love, while Martin and Paige haplessly drift somewhere between the two. And they're all a little mixed up, trying to sort out that sometimes disturbing prospect of an authentic romance. Each actor in the cast has a unique charm and comic timing of their own. They find the bittersweet chemistry within each relationship and rise above_ the light weight of the material, bringing life and blood to otherwise stereotypical characters. Seductive Acts dutifully tries not to overdo its down -to-earth intentions and fails on that count only when the relationships lapse into repetitive, diched melodrama. Still, Giarrizzo's direction keeps the pace relatively brisk. In the end, he delivers a slick, tightly packaged, slice of life and love in mean Manhattan. If you happen not to have cable television and were curious about HBO's new series, Sex in the City, check it out live and in the flesh at Theater 3.