Off Broadway Theater Review: KISSING SID JAMES (Brits Off Broadway at 59E59)

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by Sarah Taylor Ellis on January 6, 2012

in Theater-New York

THE SOUND OF TWO BRITS KISSING

Stationary sales executive Eddie and sexy casino worker Crystal fumble through their first weekend trip together in Robert Farquhar’s Kissing Sid James. This playful Brits Off Broadway production at 59E59 offers an endearingly awkward portrait of lonely longing and misfit romance.

Kissing Sid James by Robert Farquhar – directed by Jason Lawson – Brits Off Broadway at 59E59 – Off Broadway Theater Review by Sarah Taylor EllisIn an uncomfortable phone conversation that opens the show, the rambling Eddie finally gets around to asking Crystal away for a romantic seaside holiday. Prerecorded and played in a stage blackout, the play’s opening moment and subsequent blackout transitions are slight missteps in Jason Lawson’s direction; they bring the play juddering to a halt between short and cinematic scenes.

Kissing Sid James by Robert Farquhar – directed by Jason Lawson – Brits Off Broadway at 59E59 – Off Broadway Theater Review by Sarah Taylor EllisLuckily the scenes themselves are swift and smart snapshot encounters between Eddie and Crystal, whose working class fling is far from their idyllic, imagined romance. In this pressure cooker of the cheap hotel room designed by Heather Wolensky, Crystal and Eddie come together and fall apart over a rainy weekend getaway. Cool Crystal (Charlotte McKinney) assumes a façade of comfort in promiscuity, constantly concealing her longing for a real relationship. Twitchingly nervous Eddie (Alan Drake) talks incessantly to hide his social insecurities, like still living with his mother. Across sexual role play and punchy arguments, Crystal and Eddie grope for a relationship that is simply not in the cards.

Kissing Sid James by Robert Farquhar – directed by Jason Lawson – Brits Off Broadway at 59E59 – Off Broadway Theater Review by Sarah Taylor EllisAlthough the play rambles like Eddie in an unnecessary second act, Farquhar’s writing conceals and reveals these characters’ desires with comedic compassion. The audience’s own laughter throughout Kissing Sid James is of uncomfortable recognition at the desires and shortcomings of these quirky, all too human individuals, simply in search of connection.

photos by Carol Rosegg

Kissing Sid James
ended its New York run on January 1

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