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Fernando – New Ohio Theater, New York

Writer: Steven Haworth

Director: Jamie Richards

Reviewer: Robert Price

Zach is an American associate professor staying in Madrid to study the paintings of Fernando De La Cruz. Terese is the curator of the gallery, an adept conversationalist who takes an interest in the young professor. A brief conversation in front of the painting becomes lunch at a cafe, and soon they are back at her apartment, examining a lost painting by the missing master. Fernando is her former lover, but the intrigue doesn’t stop there. The truth is malleable in this psychosexual thriller, but so is the genre.

Zach, played by Christian Durso, is tasked with playing the straight man to Vivia Font’s dizzying Terese. Her text flourishes with academic embellishments, cutting through Zach’s psyche with supernatural precision. The part requires Font to be charismatic and sexy, and to turn emotionally on a dime. Font does not disappoint, but even she cannot bridge some of the stranger swings from sincere poetic passion to comic flippancy. Durso navigates his arc with a masculine intensity, sometimes enacting the audience’s incredulity at the wild events.

The plot’s complexity and the joy of the comedy win out in this stage noir. Chris Ceraso’s Blind Man is hilarious. The witty language stimulates like a Cary Grant classic. The twists and turns keep us guessing to the end. For all its strangeness, it’s a satisfying show.

Runs until 1 July 2017

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The American team is under the editorship of John McRoberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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