The Rover Invades the World Financial Center
Someone at New York Classical Theatre took The Rovers title a little too literally. The companys version of Aphra Behns 1677 comedy, staged in the One World Financial Centers glittering glass-and-marble hallways, ranges widely but never finds compelling reasons for roaming.
At a Neapolitan carnival, lusty young Englishmen meet a corresponding number of festively disguised damsels, who are fleeing arranged nuptials or nunnish futures. Mistaken identities, sexy banter, dueling, and ultimately marriages ensue.
Its fun to wander empty corporate rotundas at night, feeling vaguely sneaky. But the carnival atmosphere dissipates as were herded briskly by actors chirping This way! Director Karin Coonrod is so keen to exploit every atrium that the commutes between locations are sometimes as long as the scenes themselvesstalling the plays engine. To compensate for nasty acoustics and occasionally tricky sightlines, the acting is mostly of the grimace-your-consonants-and-thrust-your-pelvis school of classical pantomime.
The touristic production tries to make The Rover into uncomplicated rom-com. But the plays not actually that nice: Willmore, the titular rovera Restoration Charlie Sheencoaxes freebies from a gold-hearted hooker, and almost rapes his sweethearts sister while waiting for the romantic denouement. These dealbreakers get glossed over in the mad rush to an upbeat musical finaleunder fake palm trees by a Sunglass Hut.
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