what's wrong with this picture? i'm in it!

By Neil Feigeles
Directed by Greg Vorob
Thirteenth Street Rep.
50 W13th St (212/675-6677)
Non-union production (closes Oct. 4)
Review by Seth Bisen-Hersh

what's wrong with this picture? i'm in it is an autobiographical play about a straight Jewish male's attempts at finding love. It relives past relationships through narrative and short scenes. It has some funny moments, but overall the play fails to come to any epiphany about these relationships and what the future might hold.

The show opens with the main character, Russel (played by Paul Lucas), screening a phone call. It turns out to be his mother who, typically for a Jewish mother, is asking about his love life. He then turns to the audience and begins to explain how unlucky he has been in the girls he has dated.

What follows are many different scenes showcasing the freaks Russel has dated, interspersed with scenes about the way his parents taught him about sex (by handing him Playboys), etc. The girls are diverse and vary in their eccentricities. There's one into S&M, a one-night stand, a crazy stalker, and even a failed date from Love Connection. They were aptly portrayed by an ensemble of actresses.

The play ends abruptly, without any conclusion. It is the weakest moment of the production. Also, the pacing seemed too slow. Otherwise, the play has a good premise, and most of the scenes had a few laughs. The best thing about the play is its truth: the characters are all realistic (probably since they're based on actual people), making the action of the play more credible for the audience.

The actors were enthusiastic and fun to watch. They played off each other well, and they made the most of what they were given. The direction, by Greg Vorob, was fluid. The set and costumes, by Tom Harlan, were pleasantly colorful.

Overall, the show was enjoyable. Quickening the pacing a bit and tweaking the ending so that it actually framed the picture would make for a better show. But the realism and honesty of the piece came through and made it worth watching.

 Box Score:

Writing: 1
Directing: 1
Acting: 1
Sets: 1
Costumes: 1
Lighting/Sound: 1

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