Fortunately, Steve Callahan as Mr. Green and Todd Schaefer as Ross are both appealing performers and, for the most part, carry the evening capably. When the plot finally kicks in in the second act and the actors are given something to work with, they make the most of it. They're at their best when they slow down and actually talk to each other. But most of their acting is right on the lines, and they either avoid or haven't been pushed by director Brad Schwartz to search for any nuance or subtext. In the climax, when the men finally embrace, it just doesn't feel like the characters have earned it emotionally.
Schwartz tells his story clearly and reins in what could have been excessive sentimentality. For a director, an acting duet becomes a challenge in finding variety in staging and tempo, and this is where Schwartz falters. With so much repeated business in the nine scenes -- door- knocking, carryout dining, cleaning -- why not vary it each time to show how the relationship grows through ritual?
The NJT space is intimate, to say the least; the overflow audience sits inches from the actors and the realistic set by Chris Anich. Kudos to the group for bringing new plays to St. Louis in a setting that quite literally transforms the audience into a community. And the community has obviously responded; the run has been sold out since before opening.
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