Two strangers find themselves alone on a train at 4 a.m. Before crosswords are solved, they find that they may have solved the puzzles of their own lives. More…
Two strangers, board a San Francisco train at 4:30 AM. They're alone in the car, each is married, both are doing the New York Times crossword. She's an organized, sensible, psychologist. He's a free spirited, unemployed ad executive. She is a crossword pro, he always quits. Two opposites in an enclosed space, attacking each other's values but also being swayed and intrigued by them. They each have serious life problems that the other helps them solve. Their trip is filled with unpredictable but believable surprises, even a passionate kissing embrace or two. As the train ride ends it's obvious each of them has been changed.
"Brought together by a love of the daily crossword puzzle, the twosome in this warm and wise comedy debate a great many topics that engage couples today...Under Evelyn Rudie’s smooth direction, McArdle and Gilman are delightful company...Opposites attract in Jerry Mayer’s '2 Across' and Andrea McArdle and Kip Gilman keep the interplay light and entertaining. You can also learn a few life lessons along the way." Full Review
"Both actors develop their complex characters with a refined sense of authenticity and honesty...Mr. Mayer delineates his characters with exquisite care and their conflicts drive a remarkably engaging plot structure that the audience easily connects to on a variety of important levels…'2 Across' is a dramatic puzzle worth solving. The solution provides a heart-warming ninety minutes that challenges making judgements on preconceptions and prejudices." Full Review
"Over the 80-minute ride, the layers of their lives unravel and truths are revealed...Spending time with these two opposites provides a breezy light comedy with a dollop of romance, some laughs and a bit of substance...Director Evelyn Rudie keeps a crisp light touch, emphasizing the characterizations and skillfully uses the confined space of the shuttle car...In this feel-good moment, '2 Across' proves a free and easy fit for the small St Luke's Theatre." Full Review
"It’s only natural that a few contrivances are needed in order to steer the story to its destination. Yet the exposition rarely feels forced, and the characters have more dimension than the romcom cliches. The script touches, albeit lightly, on real issues like career regret and strained familial relationships...The actors are miked in a way that feels tinny and artificial. Amplification is a necessary evil in today’s theater, but the audience should never be aware of it." Full Review
"It’s the kind of thing you might expect to see at your local dinner theatre...The play sometimes goes too far in stretching credibility, but, as effortlessly performed by two appealingly attractive pros, one of them former child star Andrea McArdle, '2 Across' is the theatrical equivalent of an ice cream sundae: not very nutritious, but no problem getting it down." Full Review
"The charm of the story and the engaging characters developed by the actors are a pleasant surprise. The development of the relationship, plaid out in real time almost seems plausible, but that quiet train doesn't. I wish MetroNorth trains looked so nice and were so roomy." Full Review
“'2 Across' is a battle-of-the-sexes throwback...Set in the present and peppered with comic references to Will Shortz, the crossword editor of The New York Times, the play nonetheless seems stuck in the era of TV shows. Its rhythms belong to television but Mr. Gilman knows just how to ride them for laughs. Ms. McArdle’s role as the supposedly sharp-edged, uptight Janet is less fun, but she and Mr. Gilman have an appealing rapport that makes the play surprisingly palatable." Full Review
"This is a dramatic play with light hearted moments that comes alive thanks to McArdle and Gilman’s performances and the audience checking reality at the door...Your enjoyment of the play depends entirely on these two game performers...The train ride is a little long and it sags in the later parts with a too convenient, unbelievable melting of their hearts." Full Review
"Manages to hold attention in a gently appealing manner...Invaluably helping Mayer to keep the new acquaintances interesting are McArdle and Gilman. If they weren't up to the task, the playwright would be in trouble...Also credit director Evelyn Rudie for finding infinite ways to keep them on the move in the tiny subway-car space designed by Scott Heineman." Full Review
"'2 Across' is a 90-minute clever little ditty…The two actors land all the jokes in Mr. Mayer's comedy of words, but their chemistry is decidedly lacking despite their earnest efforts. McArdle doesn't play the obstacles, Gilman relies on his charm without creating an inner life, and Rudie fails to lead the actors out of their comfort zones. Mayer relies heavily on an unbelievable contrivance at the end to justify his rather slight story that is actually more sitcom than theater." Full Review
"Despite its playful premise and the likable presence of Andrea McArdle and Kip Gilman as the couple-to-be, is slow going. Because, really, even if director Evelyn Rudie provided the most sprightly and sparkling staging (which she doesn't — she does her best, but they're in a train car, for goodness sake), there are still all the standard clichés to cycle through." Full Review
"Surely we can expect something more in a play than endless conversation, even if it is clever....Mayer has limited his possibilities by setting his story in a commuter train car...Where the show succeeds it’s because those two characters are played by pros who make them so likable we don’t ask certain obvious questions...'2 Across' is written much like three episodes in a series...Any one of these episodes might have worked on television. In theater, they become tedious." Full Review
"I'm afraid that Jerry Mayer's new play is like the Monday puzzle -- so simple that it hardly seems worth the bother...'2 Across' is the kind of bauble that is much harder to pull off than it looks. If it is to work, we have to fall for Josh and Janet, something that never happens. The action is predictable, the characters have little or no charm, and the dialogue is without sparkle." Full Review
"A so-called happy ending is inevitable. The journey to that ending is unexciting and trite, peppered with lazily written jokes and awkward physical blocking...There is no truth in this production, no character depth, and no surprises...The weak opening scene might be the most unfortunate part...A great production of a bad script can still be a good production, but a mediocre production of a bad script is just a waste of money." Full Review
See it if You like crossword puzzles and word games, along with quiet romantic comedy. You like Andrea McArdle from Annie fame. You ride the subway.
Don't see it if You want broad laughs and sweeping romance (this is a smaller theater in a church). You like big cast ensembles (this is two people).
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