FRIGID New York @ Horse Trade presents J.Stephen Brantley’s queer coming-of-middle-age story, directed by Obie-winner David Drake. More…
This 2008 punk-rock rom-com examines how addiction, politics, and pop culture have impacted the lives of gay American men who grew up post-Stonewall, pre-'Will & Grace.' Mature audiences only.
"A riveting take on what it means to get older after years of less than ‘respectable’ living...Act one is primarily devoted to the character development required for the more fulfilling act two…One of the best things about ‘The Jamb’ is the outstanding ensemble cast. All four actors take characters that might in lesser hands become stereotypical, and turn them into complex portrayals...If Drake’s direction can be a bit dizzying, the overall result is well-paced and full of life." Full Review
"'The Jamb' takes an intimate look at two characters caught between eras–their youth and their future...J. Stephen Brantley anchors the center of the play with a nuanced performance...'The Jamb' is a touching character portrait, and a cute romantic comedy...Drake’s direction and Brantley’s electric script create deep, complex characters that are easy to relate to, regardless of your life experiences. Every big emotional note is well-earned, from rejection to arguments to kisses." Full Review
"What's a hedonistic gay guy to do when he's turning 40 and the rituals of pleasure have become numbing habit? Scary stuff, but playwright J. Stephen Brantley nimbly tackles this midlife meltdown with a heady mix of anger, pain, love, history, and lots of snappy jokes in the compelling new work...'The Jamb' directed by David Drake, asks a lot of our attention during the exposition-heavy first act...The characters become more fully realized in Act II." Full Review
"This is familiar terrain for Mr. Brantley and the director David Drake...This gives 'The Jamb' a lived-in feel, and Mr. Brantley’s writing can be sharply funny...It can also be haphazard, especially in the second act...The action, initially zipping at an antic clip, grinds to a halt. From a dramatic standpoint, watching someone sober up is a lot less entertaining than watching someone get into drug-fueled jams...Yet 'The Jamb' has a rough charm precisely because of its flaws and stumbles." Full Review
"Poignant but erratically written and bombastically presented...It’s like a Lanford Wilson play as interpreted by The Wooster Group...The cumulative result is an annoying clash between sincerity and irony...Besides achieving sensitive and strong performances from the cast, Drake masterfully fulfills the playwright’s intentions with his lively and brisk staging...Despite its structural excesses, at its core 'The Jamb' is a worthy and potent work that vividly portrays the gay male experience." Full Review
"The play is directed with flair by David Drake who makes a great use of flashbacks and uses musical cues to perfection, but 'The Jamb' doesn’t really have much to say. It often feels like an unfinished work that started out with a great thesis but then descended into rom-com. A refreshing change of air in the second act makes the play more enjoyable, but considering how much of the time is spent by the characters condemning pleasure, one can’t help but feel guilty for having this feeling." Full Review
“'The Jamb' circles the evolving relationship between the old friends, offering mild laughs (and a lot of recriminations) along the way. Roderick relentlessly upbraids Tuffer, which grates. It's when the setting shifts to New Mexico that we finally see a viable romantic spark...Brantley's and Grelli's performances blossom, giving us a glimpse of the vulnerable men behind all the toxic quarreling. But this emotional honesty, like the play itself, blooms a little too late.” Full Review
See it if You believe that self-destructive behavior can be explained and stopped through intervention
Don't see it if You are afraid of humans, gays, punk rock, New Yorkers, seeing yourself in these characters....
See it if You want to see contemporary gay theater with a witty and moving script, well directed and performed by a talented cast.
Don't see it if you get uptight around frank discussions about addiction.
See it if You're interested in dark, but funny depictions of modern LGBT life and issues of addiction/recovery & love.
Don't see it if You don't like seeing plays about addiction, or plays that depict violence and intimacy.
See it if you are interested in stories about love and friendship tested by conflicting ideas about how to live life.
Don't see it if you want a big, flashy production or are put off by stories about addiction.
See it if You like manic behavior from addicted as well as sober characters, both seeking to show and share their love for each other in many ways.
Don't see it if You are turned off by gay characters acting wildly and intensely.
See it if You want to experience how the horrors of addiction can tear relationships apart but love can bring them back together.
Don't see it if You can't tolerate gay relationships.
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