Writer: Sarah Naughton
Director: Jake Weinstein & Sarah Naughton
Reviewer: Adrienne Sowers
New York City is full of talented performers doing odd jobs to make ends meet before acting starts paying the bills. Some wait tables, work retail, or temp in corporate offices, while some, like Sarah Naughton, lend their talents to the audiobook industry. In Trapped in the Closet, Naughton invites the audience into her makeshift home recording studio (in her closet), and dishes on the joys and miseries of her day job.
The cabaret-style mostly-solo show is peppered with pop songs and nods to Broadway shows, as well as a rather hilariously inventive spoof sequel to Hamilton (Eliza is a zombie, Burr is a robot; it’s quite the premise). Joined by live musicians including co-writer and Musical Director Jake Weinstein, as well as three friends as backup singers/dancers/performative stagehands, Naughton dives into the worlds of the books she is commissioned to read, plus her thoughts and feelings about those stories.
Naughton’s talent is undeniable. Her vocal talent is superhuman, her comedic timing is impeccable, and her engagement with the audience is effortless. She carries a marathon of a performance without a single falter, every note resoundingly clear and every joke pitch-perfect. At times, the story itself can feel long and slightly tangential. There are about three different moments that seem about to transition into a coda, which is a little jarring when the play continues. While Naughton never fades, the script itself meanders a bit and distracts from the otherwise joyous shine of the experience.
Trapped in the Closet is a gem in the beautifully intimate space at Feinstein’s 54 Below, and one hopes that the production will reprise after this one-night-only performance.
Reviewed on 2 December 2017 | Image: Heather Craig