nytheatre.com review by John Samuel Jordan
August 12, 2006
If tender loving care (aka TLC) is what you need, do not go knocking on Evelyn Coleman’s door. However, if you are like me and you love high-quality, suspense-filled live theatre now and then, head on down to the Linhart Theater and watch Evelyn from the audience. You can see her in Twenty Feet Productions’ presentation of Robert Moulthrop’s play, t.L.C. (I’m not sure I would sit in the front row though. She is kind of crazy.)
Let me explain. Evelyn is a seemingly average, lonely, middle-aged, middle-American nurse. Through her incessant talking to herself, phone conversations with her friend, Sue, and adorable one-sided banter with her goldfish, Barney, we learn that she has not been able to reach her 28-year-old son, Charlie, for the past three weeks. Not since the day he moved out of her house. She becomes more and more rattled as the play moves on, not without the help of her pre-made pitchers of homemade screwdrivers and hefty supply of pharmaceuticals. When she finally hears from Charlie, and that he has met a girl whom he plans to immediately marry, Evelyn just about loses it. And that’s when this tale of a cute, lonely nurse becomes a much darker play about a very disturbed woman, who will stop at nothing to get her son back to his room in her house.
Margaret Daly portrays Evelyn with graceful ease. She plays the alcoholism so incredibly well...not overdone, nor underdone...everything is precise and subtle with her performance. It’s wonderful. Credit must also go to director Marc Silberschatz for the staging. Even though this is basically a one-woman show, I never felt that. I was right there with all the other characters, brought to life by Daly, Silberschatz and, of course, Moulthrop. Special mention goes out to Barney the goldfish (not sure of the goldfish actor’s name, he was not credited in the program). He almost stole the show from his fishbowl.
Silberschatz, Reanna Muskovitz, and David Skigen provide pre-recorded answering machine messages for Evelyn to hear. It was nice to hear a few other voices. They all do justice to the piece. Adding just the right mood-fitting touches to the production are Mimi Maxmen’s costumes, Dana Sterling’s lights, and John Ivy’s sound design.
I particularly enjoy the specifically-chosen, uneven lettering for the title (t.L.C.)...with punctuation, to chop the “tender loving care” up even more! B.r.A.V.o!
Also of note is that Moulthrop received the 2005 FringeNYC Outstanding Playwriting Award for Half Life. Two in a row?