On Broadway

Corrections or additions?

This review by Simon Saltzman was prepared for the March 21, 2001

edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Off-Broadway: `Boy Gets Girl’

A blind date goes bad — really bad — in Rebecca

Gilman’s unnerving chiller, "Boy Gets Girl." In this

progressively

harrowing and disturbing play, as directed with fevered commitment

by the late Michael Maggio, we see how a maniacal stalker victimizes

an attractive, intelligent, successful, and single career woman. Like

Gilman’s equally provocative play about campus political correctness

"Spinning into Butter" (seen last season also at the Manhattan

Theater Club), "Boy Gets Girl" explores what happens when

more or less innocent and well-meaning people can be unwittingly drawn

into a trap that springs and destroys them.

Overworked and currently boyfriendless, Theresa (Mary Beth Fisher),

a top-flight journalist for World Magazine, agrees to a blind date

set in motion by a girl friend. From their first meeting at a

restaurant,

Theresa senses that she and Tony (Ian Lithgow), the seemingly naive,

but not bad looking either young(er) man conversing with her

aggressively

over a few beers, may not be an ideal match. For starters, he isn’t

very well read (he’s never heard of Edith Wharton) nor much of a

sports

fan (knows next to nothing about the Yankees).

Although Theresa’s New York-sharpened wit shows up Tony’s lack of

sophistication, she discovers, after their second dead-end date, that

she is no match for Tony’s battle-honed methods of pursuit. After

bidding him a quick and relatively kind adieu, she is deluged with

flowers sent daily to her office and a barrage of phone messages left

at her home and at work.

Beginning to worry about Tony’s unrelenting attention,

Theresa’s concern initiates the involvement of Harriet (Shayna Ferm),

her new not-too-swift secretary, Mercer (David Adkins), a staff

journalist

who takes an unusual and unsettling interest in male-female

relationships,

and Howard (Matt DeCaro), her understanding boss. But it is not until

a policewoman (Ora Jones) explains to Theresa the potential for

violence

and worse — the need to change one’s name, workplace and residence

— that we, too, see to what degree Theresa’s life is in jeopardy.

Simple harassment is the least of Theresa’s problems as events begin

to spiral out of control.

An important subplot, in which Theresa interviews Les Kennkat (Howard

Witt), a sleazy, but harmless, producer of soft-core sex films,

reveals

another confounding and perplexing element in the way we perceive

the opposite sex. Les’s gross and lowbrow taste and philosophy plays

an important role in advancing the playwright’s concerns about the

true nature of the social interaction and exchanges between male and

female. After Theresa’s apartment is ransacked and she begins to

receive

threats and obscene phone calls, we see to what extent Tony’s

psycho-sexual

obsession is being realized.

This nerve-tingling drama is more than just a stalker-driven tale,

for it demonstrates how easily another person can infiltrate and

manipulate

a life. Although all the performances are exemplary and on-target,

Fisher, in particular, brilliantly brings to the fore the desperation

and vulnerability that overtakes and overturns this once confident,

bright, and controlled woman. Not to be dismissed, even though we

don’t see him after the first act, is Lithgow, whose quirky

boy-next-door

cover continues to linger ominously over the entire play. Three stars.

— Simon Saltzman

Boy Gets Girl, Manhattan Theater Club, 131 West 55 Street,

New York, 212-581-1212. $55. To April 8.

Top Of Page
On Broadway

The key: Four stars, Don’t miss; Three stars, You won’t feel

cheated; Two stars, Maybe you should have stayed home; One star, Don’t

blame us.

Ticket Numbers

Unless otherwise noted, reservations can be made through

Tele-Charge

at 800-432-7250 or 212-239-6200 . Other ticket outlets: Ticket

Central,

212-279-4200; Ticketmaster, 800-755-4000.


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