Sex Sells. In Patrick Marber’s CLOSER, recently undertaken at MN Players/Spotlight Theater, the subject of sex is explored with explicit language, candor and wit. The story follows four consenting adults who find their lives inescapably entangled through sexual attraction, rejection and escapades. If sex sells, it also can create and destroy, as is learned though the play.
Alice (Elizabeth Hall) and Dan (Geoffrey Bruen) meet accidently, and quickly develop a relationship. Just as coincidently, Larry (Thomas-Robert Irvin) finds his way into the lives of Dan and Alice. Dan gives the action impetus through a misguided chat room conversation with Larry during which he masquerades as a woman and accidently puts Anna (Heather Ferrel) into the arms of Larry. Anna comes late to the party, disrupting what has come before. The four trade partners and share lives, ultimately finding honesty and intimacy difficult to face.
Sometimes funny and sometimes tragic, the four actors are faced with the task of revealing their characters through the staccato and overtly sexual dialogue and action, and a sparse set. The actors are further challenged by the London setting of the play to bring British accents to their characters. Hall and Bruen carry off the relationship of the ‘younger’ couple well. Hall brings the sexuality to the stage. Bruen portrays a sometimes unlikable Dan with conviction. Irvin brings to life the lonely and somewhat easily duped doctor. Ferrel appears as the artistic and more levelheaded female rounding out the love quadrangle. The various relationship combinations of the characters are made believable by the actors.
Audiences are left to question the difference between honest and open relationships, the role of sex in a relationship verses the closeness of love and intimacy, and the role of romance. Coarse language and explicit action make this a play for mature audiences. CLOSER is a daring undertaking for any community theater group.
by Patrick Marber
Directed by Cindy Nagle Walton
April 11-20, 2013
MN Players/Spotlight Theatre
129 Park Avenue
Swarthmore, PA 19081