No, it’s not about NAMBLA. Shut up.
It’s a 1961 Terence Rattigan play set in the Village in 1934, about a Ponzi schemer and all-around fraud who uses his son as a pawn against his gay financial opponent, whom he calls “that silly, pink-faced old fairy!”
It’s pretty racy stuff — the man will stop at nothing, even gay baiting, while admitting, “Love is a commodity I can’t afford” — and the play’s financial shenanigans seem very current in the age of Bernie Madoff, especially when you consider the suicide of Madoff’s son.
Despite all that, for a lot of Act One, Man and Boy comes off stuffy and talky.
It’s a one-set play with nonstop gab — definitely not for the ADD crowd.
Fortunately, the fraudulent financier is played by three-time Tony winner Frank Langella, who brings a hint of his Nixon and a touch of his Dracula to the snakelike con man who is only reminded of conscience when his righteously appalled son is in the room.
And Zach Grenier is terrific as his pink-faced enemy, adding character flourishes that make the wheelings and dealings believable.
Best of all, it’s refreshing to see a play that never gets revived — even if you can see just why that might be.