Growing pains

Big Kids

By Alexander Dinelaris
Directed by Mark Steven Robinson
Equity Showcase (closes July 2)
Shotgun Productions
Pantheon Theater
303 W. 42nd St. 2nd fl. (212/352-3101)
Review by Seth Bisen-Hersh

Alexander Dinelaris's play Big Kids is about actors and writers reaching 30 and that point in their careers and lives when they question why they are in a business that is so demeaning and demanding. It is full of truth and heart, and resonates with the audience, especially those in the business.

The plot of the play follows three roommates, two actors and a writer. They are all at a crossroads as they near 30 (although one is already 32). Alan (playwright Alexander Dinelaris) is a struggling writer who has forsaken his career in order to run a restaurant and date a woman he doesn't even like, Miranda (Darcie Siciliano). Jason (Gerry Vermillion) has just been offered a lead role in a soap opera, but has a concussion due to his addiction to blow; he has been sleeping with his manager, Tara (Stacy Wallace). Finally, Chaz (Bones Rodriguez) is a Cuban actor who has not been having any luck in his career. All he has going for him is his loving girlfriend of many years, Daisy (Bellavia Mauro), who supports him financially and emotionally and also allows him to have a kinky menage with "the girl" (Nicola Riske).

This modern show has much humor -- some of the one-liners are priceless -- while also having a strong heart. It deals poignantly and comically with many issues that most starving artists deal with daily.

The cast had not a single weak link. Each actor gave a realistic and grounded performance, which brought life to the exquisite dialog. Furthermore, there was sparkling chemistry between the guys and between all the couples.

Mark Steven Robinson's direction was fluid and well-paced. The staging made good use of Colin Miles Campbell's realistic set. Campbell nicely transformed the stage into a typical, stingy three-bedroom apartment complete with Ikea furniture.

Big Kids is both hilarious and heartwarming. There was not a thing to fix in the script, production, direction, or acting. The show will speak mostly to starving artists, but it is a brilliant work of art in its own right.

Box Score:

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

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Copyright 2004 Seth Bisen-Hersh