Two old friends reunite during a chance encounter on Madison Avenue 35 years after they first met in the play "Somewhere Fun." Time Out New York's David Cote filed the following report for NY1.
Sometimes, we critics will rave over an experimental new piece. Then, you see it and think we're crazy. So, be forewarned: Jenny Schwartz's dark, language-drunk fantasia "Somewhere Fun" is weird. It's nonlinear and stylized. An Upper East Side matron melts on the sidewalk, and the dialogue is full of self-conscious wordplay. But if you like Albee, Pinter and Churchill, you may really love this play.
Although it spans many lives and decades of personal history, the plot of "Somewhere Fun" is easily summarized. One windy afternoon on Madison Avenue, old chums Rosemary Rappaport and Evelyn Anderson bump into each other. After a hurried exchange, each goes on her way.
But a whole cosmic drama unspools from that chance encounter. Rosemary has lunch with her best friend; Evelyn goes to have her nails done. The action of the play, and I'm using the term "action" loosely, is the gradual reunion of various members of the ladies' families, usually due to death. Evelyn has terminal cancer and Rosemary, well, liquefies in a puddle on the sidewalk. Eventually, an estranged son of Rosemary and a disfigured daughter of Evelyn are reunited on an odd, touching note of romance.
The wonderful cast in Annie Kauffman's impeccable production rises to the task of this loopy, musical script. Mulgrew handles her lyrical cascades with gusto, Chalfant is frostily imperious, and while the play is cryptic and elliptical, it's also bracing, mesmerizing and yes, often very funny.
Not for the literalist or conventional-minded, "Somewhere Fun" is the sort of play that stretches your imagination and reminds you that theater can be a place where language shapes, and misshapes, reality.