The Burnt Part Boys and Dusk Rings a Bell Mine the Past

New plays at Playwrights Horizons and the Atlantic

Since their teenage beach tryst, we learn, each has gotten into and out of an unhappy marriage, and he has done time in prison for his largely passive share in a nasty crime, committed a few summers later near the same beach. As the might-have-beens pile up behind them, they share a renewed fling that, predictably, again leads nowhere. Neither mentions the disparity in economic class that partially underlies both their relationship's failure and his crime; the script's overall attitude seems merely a wistful shrug. Under Sam Gold's tender, unforced direction, the ever-reliable Sparks, given far better material, comes off strongly; Walsh, with many more lines but far less substance, makes her role touching without concealing its basic inanity.

Children of disaster: Andrew Durand, Charlie Brady, Al Calderon, and Molly Ranson in The Burnt Part Boys
Joan Marcus
Children of disaster: Andrew Durand, Charlie Brady, Al Calderon, and Molly Ranson in The Burnt Part Boys

Details

The Burnt Part Boys
By Mariana Elder, Chris Miller, and Nathan Tysen
Playwrights Horizons
416 West 42nd Street, 212-279-4200

Dusk Rings a Bell
By Stephen Belber
Atlantic Stage 2
330 West 16th Street, 212-279-4200

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