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Adults Only

A highly entertaining evening broken into seven very different plays; much to be laughed at as there is to be contemplated.

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Nate Rollins and Shane Allen in a scene from “The Heart Attack,” part of “Adults Only” (Photo credit: Eulone Gooding)

Nate Rollins and Shane Allen in a scene from “The Heart Attack,” part of “Adults Only” (Photo credit: Eulone Gooding)

Ryan Mikita

Based at The Barrow Group Theatre, Core Artist Ensemble presents an evening of one act plays written by playwright Dean Imperial. The umbrella title for the evening, Adults Only, is a nod to the thematic content of the seven one-act plays therein, in which each examines a different set of complex adult relationships in an oddball yet heartfelt way.

Directed by Alex Correia, the seven different plays presented each serve a purpose. The Heart Attack, which opens the show, is solemn yet silly. Taking place in a hospital, Nate Rollins is a patient who thinks he is having a heart attack, and Shane Allen is the Doctor assigned to his case. The premise is initially that of just a hypochondriac in action, but once the check-up has been completed, the tone changes to that of a more poignant and meaningful exchange between two grown men. While not all the plays are equally as funny, humor is present throughout the entire evening to keep the overall tone on the lighter side.

John Egan and Kara Dudley in a scene from “Prix-Fixe,” part of Adults Only (Photo credit: Eulone Gooding)

John Egan and Kara Dudley in a scene from “Prix-Fixe,” part of Adults Only (Photo credit: Eulone Gooding)

The final of four plays in the first act is Prix-Fixe, a bizarre exchange between a restaurant hostess and a passerby. Kara Dudley’s hostess, positioned outside of her restaurant and corralling the pedestrians of the Upper West Side inside for lunch, engages John Egan—a modern day greaser dressed in all black—in conversation to see if he finds the lunch offer enticing. At first, the glances taken by Egan at Dudley’s innocent-looking hostess are anything but well-intentioned, but as much as one can ever judge a book by its cover, what begins as small talk leads to an interesting and thought provoking ultimatum.

The plays of the second act examine more carnal subjects such as sexuality and intimacy, and are of a decidedly darker breed of humor. The Sleepover, featuring Quinn Vogt-Welch and John Egan (a handful of actors in the ensemble are cast in multiple plays), presents a look at two lovers looking to spice up their relationship. A highlight of the evening, this clever take on role-playing in relationships has much to say about typical gender roles and is consistently laugh-inducing.

Matt Reeves, Rachael Lee, Farrah Crane (back to camera), Sam Gilroy, Tessa Borbridge and Matt Mundy in a scene from “The Needle through the Arm Trick” (Photo credit: Edward Morris)

Matt Reeves, Rachael Lee, Farrah Crane (back to camera), Sam Gilroy, Tessa Borbridge and Matt Mundy in a scene from “The Needle through the Arm Trick” (Photo credit: Edward Morris)

The final one act presented also incidentally features the largest cast of the evening. A grand finale of sorts, The Needle through the Arm Trick gives the audience a glimpse of a couple’s only dinner party. Pat (Matt Reeves), the host of the party, discovers that his guest Duncan is a magician. Though Sam Gilroy’s Duncan is indeed a magician, he emphatically states that he does not perform magic tricks at house parties—only during shows. This does not sit well with Reeves’ Pat, who feels entitled to some entertainment as a sign of respect for hosting the party. By design, Pat is all-too-familiar a stereotype, an obnoxious and aggressive alpha-male who doesn’t understand the word no. 

Covering a number of different social situations and relationships, Adults Only is a highly entertaining evening broken up into seven very different plays. With consistent writing from Dean Imperial, an effective arrangement of the plays, and solid performances throughout, there is as much to be laughed at as there is to be contemplated in Core Artist Ensemble’s latest production.

Adults Only (through February 21, 2016)

Core Artist Ensemble

TBG Theatre, 312 West 36th Street in Manhattan

For tickets, visit http://www.coreartistensemble.com

Running time: one hour and 45 minutes including one intermission

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