nytheatre.com review by Kristin Skye Hoffmann
January 8, 2010
Writer/performer Anthony Black plays Atom. That's "Atom, not as in the apple, as in the bomb" and, forgive the slang, "the bomb" is exactly the way to describe this solo performance now playing at The Public's Under the Radar Festival. From the very first moment I knew I was in good hands. Every element falls into place with professional precision and true love of the theatrical arts.
Atom is a complex man who, although born out of a seedy and somewhat tragic background, has created a very successful life for himself...in terms of capitalism that is. He has the girl of his dreams for a wife, a perfect son whom they both adore, and enough money to live comfortably for as long as they choose. That is, until disaster strikes and Atom is thrown into a world of self-analysis, world analysis, and desperation that can only come when heavy weaponry is involved. He learns that continual growth can only equal destruction. Sounds heavy, no? Well, it is a little, but only in the most appropriate, entertaining, and beautiful way.
Black and 2b Theatre Company have been developing this production since 2004, and the amount of work and love that has gone into it is fully evident in the clean, crisp transitions from character to character. He plays Atom, his wife, his boss, his coworker, his father, and various arbitrary people in his life such as cab drivers and receptionists with startling realism and accuracy. At one point he even portrays Atom's own infant son with brilliant accuracy and I bought every minute of it. The lighting and sound design by Christian Barry are amazing. Combined with Black's brilliant timing the two elements become characters in the show, creating worlds, telling jokes, and making poignant statements about the money-driven world in which we live today.
Director Ann-Marie Kerr also deserves props. The level of specific staging characterization that is showcased in this performance is staggering. Only an excellent working team could have come up with something so complete in its theatrical and interpersonal elements. The very human details of each character that Black embodies can only come with the help of a discerning outside eye.
I feel privileged to have been among Invisible Atom's audience members. Go see this show and be inspired, entertained and intellectually impressed.