DramaLGBTQNew YorkOff-BroadwayReview

Up The Rabbit Hole – Theater for the New City, New York

Writer: Andy Halliday
Director: G. R. Johnson
Reviewer: Robert Price

Jack Harris is doing cocaine. His mother doesn’t know that, but she’s disappointed he didn’t show up to dinner. The nice guy he met, Robert, has no idea Jack has a problem. He really likes Jack, and keeps telling him that. When Jack tracks down his birth mother and half brother, he doesn’t mention his habit, though both of them are coincidentally recovering addicts. They open their home to him and treat him like family. Jack’s only confidant is a heterosexual Adonis with a limited vocabulary; Timothy has the hook-up for the coke, as well as a rockin’ bod and a propensity for manipulation.

Andy Halliday’s latest is a patient journey through a transitional period in a former dancer’s life. The people around Jack offer support in their own ways, but are not without self-interest. Several scenes in the play drag with a maudlin safety, providing a contrast to the frantic opening under the influence. The conversation is idyllic and natural but lacks significance. Director G. R. Johnson does not make clear by what means characters are changed during each scene. When the drama heats up it is a joy to watch the patience pay off with strong choices from actors and characters alike.

Tyler Jones (as Jack) is a pro at sweeping a mess of hair from his boyish smirk. His performance shines in the moments that Jack lip-syncs or sells a joke, giving us a burst of humanity in a couple of seconds. Johnson’s directing puts Jones front and center for naturalistic transitions, and the pair work beautifully. Quinn Couglin (as Timothy) looks and sounds the part, and convinces us he may even live some of the part. Laralu Smith (Helen Harris and Angela Little) is an honest mom in two very different scenarios, memorable in her delight, her worry, and her anger. Peter Gregus (Robert) is smooth as butter in his seduction and brings maturity to his love for Jack. Andrew Glaszek (Bradford Little) is an ideal sibling with an angelic disposition.

There is a real satisfaction in the structure of the final scene that inspires tangible gratitude. It’s the kind of story that reminds you that cocaine is not such a good idea.

Runs until 15 October 2017

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