Skating on thin ice

Kiss and Cry

By Tom Rowan
Directed by Kevin Newbury
Theater Ten Ten
1010 Park Ave. (; 212/288-3246 ext. 3)
Equity showcase (closes Mar. 12)
Review by Byrne Harrison

Tom Cruise. Al Reynolds. Kenny Chesney. Johnny Weir. All of them famous. All of them in the limelight. And all of them the subject of rumors and innuendo from the gossip columns to the blogosphere. Are they or aren’t they?

While Kiss and Cry doesn’t address any of those people, the issue of the sexual orientation of the two main characters, Stacy and Fiona, isn’t in doubt very long. Both of them are gay and both have very compelling reasons to stay in the closet. Fiona is Hollywood’s next up-and-coming ingénue, having captured the eyes and libidos of hordes of teen boys in a hot new vampire movie. Stacy, along with his partner Brittany, is America’s best chance to bring home the gold in pairs figure skating at the next Winter Olympics. An orphan, Stacy lives with Brittany’s family – conservative Christians who would never let her daughter skate with someone they view as an abomination. When Fiona suggests that she and Stacy pretend to date, it seems to be the answer to their problems. When that doesn’t turn out to be enough, the two decide to marry, and in a p.r. blitz that would make Paris Hilton jealous, they become Americas golden celebrity couple.

Granted Kiss and Cry is not a particularly innovative tale. A perceptive audience member will see all the revelations and plot twists well in advance. But as the old saying goes, getting there is half the fun, and that is certainly the case with this play. Rowan’s dialogue is crisp and natural, his characters are interesting, and the story is exceptionally relevant, both because of the Winter Olympics and the increasing invasiveness of the media in celebrities’ lives.

Adding to the joy in the journey is the exceptional cast. Julie Leedes’s Fiona was cute, flirty, and a master of manipulation. David Lavine didn’t get to flex his acting muscles much as the mild skating champion Stacy, but when Stacy talks about skating, Lavine’s face lit up with a childlike rapture. And when Stacy’s world begins to collapse around him, Lavine made his pain as palpable as an exposed nerve.

In their supporting roles, Reed Prescott and Elizabeth Cooke, playing Stacy’s teammate Ethan and partner Brittany, created fascinating studies in sublimated passion in Ethan’s case and intolerance mixed with compassion in Brittany’s. Timothy Dunn was good as Stacy’s unctuous boyfriend, Trent. Outstanding in an already remarkable cast was Nell Gwynn, as Fiona’s out and proud playwright girlfriend, Lauren. One of the most well-rounded and believable characters in this play, Gwynn was the center of attention when she is onstage.

The show was not without its flaws. There were some minor problems with the lights and some of the properties. And although director Kevin Newbury did keep the pacing moving along at a good clip, the show felt a little long. And the final scene of the show, a speech given by Lauren, seemed unnecessary and diluted the power of the previous scene featuring Stacy and Ethan. While Lauren’s speech ensures that the play ends with some laughter, it would have been a more poignant ending without it.

Overall, however, these imperfections were minor and didn’t distract too much from what was an otherwise fun and enjoyable play.

Box Score:

Writing: 1
Directing: 2
Acting: 2
Set: 0
Costumes: 2
Lighting/Sound: 1

Return to Volume Twelve, Number Eleven Index

Return to Volume Twelve Index

Return to Home Page

Copyright 2006 Byrne Harrison