May-December with The Nose and Clammy
nytheatre.com review by Richard Hinojosa
August 24, 2009
Why do we dare to fall in love? It's so risky! Is the heartache and pain worth the fleeting joy and comfort? I think most people would say yes. But the question remains: is there a way to look before we leap? May - December with The Nose and Clammy attempts to do just that and the result is a play with enormous heart and charm.
The premise is fairly clever—Lily and Noah are going to get married in two days. Lily has invited Noah to a theatre (the very theatre we're sitting in) and unbeknownst to Noah they are going to play out the last eight months of their relationship and leave it for us to judge whether they should get married. He agrees to play along, and over the next 80 minutes we see them meet, have lots of sex (well, we don't actually see the sex but they do strip to their underwear) cautiously fall in love, fight, break up...the whole arc of a relationship up to the point where we first meet them at the beginning.
Playwrights Jonas Cohen and Naomi McDougall Jones have penned a very sweet story of a couple in search of their passions. Noah is "exhausted by who he is" and Lily identifies with Jane Eyre, believing she is "downtrodden and destined for greater things." Cohen and Jones's dialogue is very smart and rather direct. I liked that aspect. They almost always cut to the chase. And yet their characters have a lot of heart. They are flawed people and they don't always know what they want. They struck me a real. When it was over I was thinking just exactly what the person sitting behind me said, "That was an adorable play."
One thing that I was waiting for never happens though. They speak directly to the audience at the top of the show and then they launch into their story as two real people acting out their lives in front of an audience, but they never come back and talk to us again until the very end. For me, that diminishes the premise because they become actors playing for us, which of course they are, but they establish that they're not. I thought they might stop at milestones in their relationship and talk to us again. Ask us what we think or how things are going or reflect on the events that just happened, if anything just to keep the premise running. However, this did not in any way take away from my enjoyment of the story.
The acting is very solid. Jones plays Lily with an excellent range of emotions. She really captivates. Craig Waletzko plays Noah with deep conviction. He is very talented at playing the uptight professional. Director Ava Geffen gives a clear vision of this couple and all their quirks. She establishes a very fast pace from the beginning. Which is great but there are moments when I thought they could have slowed a little to listen to each other.
May - December with The Nose and Clammy is a show packed with talent and charm. Love is worth the pain it may cause and this show is worth a look. Catch it if you can.