ComedyNew YorkOff-BroadwayReview

The Big Broadcast on East 53rd – TBG Theatre, New York

Writer: Dick Brukenfeld

Director: Charles Maryan

Reviewer: Adrienne Sowers

A deft cast carries The Big Broadcast on East 53rd. This ‘80s-style throwback antic comedy is deftly directed by Charles Maryan, with fantastic timing. Visually, the production is striking, particularly the set designed by Atkin Pace that combines conceptual cuing with naturalistic realism with seamless ease.

Kate Loprest and John Patrick Hayden shine as Penny and Ray Talley, a couple on the brink of marital collapse, both with their own destructive habits. Loprest and Hayden have engaging chemistry, and their banter and timing drive the absurdity of the action. Alexis Bronkovic shines as Penny’s friend Ruth, her energy and commitment to the over-the-top nature of the play brimming with charm and a keen understanding of classic comedic timing.

The concept and style of this play feel like the 1980s era in which it is set. While the jokes land and the Playalinda ensemble carry the energy well, the play at times seems a bit too much like its setting. The early-to-mid-‘80s were rife with antic comedies that often ran together stylistically and narratively. The Big Broadcast on East 53rd feels like these plays, with an interesting concept that pales behind lazzi and caricature-like traits. For the genre, it succeeds, but it feels more like a revival of an aesthetic than a reinvention of it.

Runs until 25 February 2017

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The American team is under the editorship of Adrienne Sowers. 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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