According to Lincoln Center's new LCT3 project at its slogan, it takes "New Audiences for New Artists." It also takes new critics, hence the establishment of Theater Talk's New Theater Corps in 2005, a way for up-and-coming theater writers and eager new theatergoers to get exposure to the ever-growing theater scene in New York City. Writers for the New Theater Corps are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the off-off and off-Broadway theater scene, learning and giving back high-quality reviews at the same time. Driven by a passion and love of the arts, the New Theater Corps aims to identify, support, and grow the arts community, one show and one person at a time.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

MITF: They Walk Among Us

Angels may hang out with God on a regular basis, but if they’re anything like the young ones in They Walk Among Us, they’re just like us. They laugh, make corny jokes and love reality television, all while receiving assignments to save us from car accidents, hate crimes, and, occasionally, ourselves.

Reviewed by Ilana Novick

Like a Breakfast Club version of the walking dead, Cyrus (the lovable prankster, played with an effectively sly grin by Anthony Martinez), Grace (the prim ex-prom queen played by Jillian Coneys), and Levi (their leader, Lincoln L. Hayes) are angels who descend on New York City to protect Adam (Jimmy Joe McGurl) a young man struggling with both his homosexuality and his increasing doubts about God. They defend Adam from being the victim of a gay bashing. Cyrus makes an angry speech decrying the misinterpretation of Jesus’s teaching that have led to too much discrimination. The other angels concur that Adam has nothing to feel ashamed of, that Jesus loves him too.

While it’s nice to see that even religious figures think discrimination is a problem, I wonder if the good will expressed by these angels, as well as their pop-culture references and arguments, are merely an ironic coating designed to make organized religion, and Christianity in particular more palatable. Also, while the angels make their points perfectly clear, they get more stage time than the person they are supposed to be saving. We know that Adam is trouble because he goes to a psychic at the beginning of the play, and because he’s in a car accident, but more time is given over to watching the angels save him than to any scenes of his everyday life.

The staging doesn't give any insight; it's more appropriate for a dress rehearsal. Folding chairs and black crates are overtaxed in their use as chairs, cars, flying devices, tables, and beds. The lights were barely dimmed at all during scene changes. Despite its enthusiastic angels and positive view of religion, They Walk Among Us isn't likely to convert the audience into liking the show.

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They Walk Among Us is presented as part of the Midtown International Theater Festival. Performances remaining are July 25 at 8:30 and August 3 at 4:30, at The Barrow Group’s Workshop Mainstage Theater, 312 West 36th Street, 4th floor. Tickets are available through www.midtownfestival.org, or ticketcentral.com, or at the theater box office.


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks. Charjming review and you saved me from wasting my time and money.

Sir Phillip Doogin said...

But what did you think of the acting?