You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Stitching

Brit scripter Anthony Neilson has wrought a brutal psycho-physical two-hander that fails to validate or illuminate the machinations of incomplete souls struggling to establish a foundation for their relationship.

Cast:
Abby - Meital Dohan Stu - John Ventimiglia

Brit scripter Anthony Neilson has wrought a brutal psycho-physical two-hander that fails to validate or illuminate the machinations of incomplete souls struggling to establish a foundation for their relationship. While bogged down by overly long scene changes, however, helmer Timothy Haskell’s staging is impressive, underscoring every jagged shift in the contentious interactions of urbanites Abby (Meital Dohan) and Stu (John Ventimiglia), made even more viable by the thoroughly committed perfs of the thesps. Ultimately, what “Stitching” is missing is a compelling reason to witness the disintegration of these two doomed conjugal game players.

Ventimiglia’s Stu establishes the underlying, painfully obvious premise of this 75-minute legiter when he declares, “All our problems come down to communication.” This inability to truly connect runs rampant through Neilson’s two alternating scenic conceits: newly pregnant Abby’s ongoing struggle to get Stu to validate their relationship; and alternate-reality, hyperabusive gamesmanship between Abby’s emotionally stunted college student hooker and Stu’s graphically instructive client.

Entwined within the script are their allusions to a lost child a la “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” the intermittent recriminations about past infidelities and the couple’s sadly inept efforts to improve their relationship by way of “The Big Book of Personality Tests.” Though intriguing, none of these elements enhance the plot or characters; as human beings they are simply not worthy of attention.

What works are the searing portrayals of Dohan and Ventimiglia. Despite the turgid between-scene activity (while they doggedly change their attire in dim light), the two never lose a laserlike focus often breathtaking in its intensity.

As Abby, Israel-born Dohan, who earned acclaim as a sex-crazed rabbinical scholar in Showtime’s “Weeds,” ceaselessly burrows into Stu as if her life depends upon his validation of her soul. Her insatiable need to be recognized provides credence to the self-mutilation that gives this work its title.

Ventimiglia (Artie Bucco in HBO’s “The Sopranos”) achieves an admirable balance of lust and reticence as Stu relentlessly ravages the ever-present Abby, all the while emotionally distancing himself from her basic needs. It is telling that his Stu doesn’t exude an aura of total relaxation until he can safely report that Abby is gone.

“Stitching” is served well by Garin Marschall’s bare-bones apartment setting, the evocative lighting of Matt Richter and the mood-enhancing music/sounds of Daron Murphy.

Stitching

Lillian Theater; 99 seats; $25 top

Production: An Adamanto Prods., the Lillian Theater with Electric Pear Prods./Melanie Sylvan, Liebman Entertainment and Veronique Ory, Alex Zoppa, Cheryl Bianchi presentation of a play in one act by Anthony Neilson. Directed by Timothy Haskell.

Creative: Sets, Garin Marschall; costumes, Louis Jacobs; lighting, Matt Richter; sound/original music, Daron Murphy; stage manager, Elspeth Weingarten. Opened, reviewed, March 6; closes April 5. Running time: 1 HOUR, 15 MIN.

Cast: Abby - Meital Dohan Stu - John Ventimiglia

More Legit

  • The Band's Visit

    Broadway Box Office: Promising Start for 'The Band's Visit'

    Brit scripter Anthony Neilson has wrought a brutal psycho-physical two-hander that fails to validate or illuminate the machinations of incomplete souls struggling to establish a foundation for their relationship. While bogged down by overly long scene changes, however, helmer Timothy Haskell’s staging is impressive, underscoring every jagged shift in the contentious interactions of urbanites Abby […]

  • Judd Apatow

    Judd Apatow on Weinstein Co. at Power of Women Luncheon: 'Shut It Down'

    Brit scripter Anthony Neilson has wrought a brutal psycho-physical two-hander that fails to validate or illuminate the machinations of incomplete souls struggling to establish a foundation for their relationship. While bogged down by overly long scene changes, however, helmer Timothy Haskell’s staging is impressive, underscoring every jagged shift in the contentious interactions of urbanites Abby […]

  • War Paint review

    Broadway Musical 'War Paint' Will Close Earlier Than Expected

    Brit scripter Anthony Neilson has wrought a brutal psycho-physical two-hander that fails to validate or illuminate the machinations of incomplete souls struggling to establish a foundation for their relationship. While bogged down by overly long scene changes, however, helmer Timothy Haskell’s staging is impressive, underscoring every jagged shift in the contentious interactions of urbanites Abby […]

  • Springsteen on Broadway opening

    'Springsteen on Broadway' Opening: Don't Clap Along With The Boss

    Brit scripter Anthony Neilson has wrought a brutal psycho-physical two-hander that fails to validate or illuminate the machinations of incomplete souls struggling to establish a foundation for their relationship. While bogged down by overly long scene changes, however, helmer Timothy Haskell’s staging is impressive, underscoring every jagged shift in the contentious interactions of urbanites Abby […]

  • SPRINGSTEEN ON BROADWAY

    Theater Review: 'Springsteen on Broadway' Is an Intimate, Living Autobiography

    Brit scripter Anthony Neilson has wrought a brutal psycho-physical two-hander that fails to validate or illuminate the machinations of incomplete souls struggling to establish a foundation for their relationship. While bogged down by overly long scene changes, however, helmer Timothy Haskell’s staging is impressive, underscoring every jagged shift in the contentious interactions of urbanites Abby […]

  • Tony Awards

    Tony Awards Set a Date for 2018 Telecast

    Brit scripter Anthony Neilson has wrought a brutal psycho-physical two-hander that fails to validate or illuminate the machinations of incomplete souls struggling to establish a foundation for their relationship. While bogged down by overly long scene changes, however, helmer Timothy Haskell’s staging is impressive, underscoring every jagged shift in the contentious interactions of urbanites Abby […]

  • Young Frankenstein musical review

    West End Review: 'Young Frankenstein,' The Musical

    Brit scripter Anthony Neilson has wrought a brutal psycho-physical two-hander that fails to validate or illuminate the machinations of incomplete souls struggling to establish a foundation for their relationship. While bogged down by overly long scene changes, however, helmer Timothy Haskell’s staging is impressive, underscoring every jagged shift in the contentious interactions of urbanites Abby […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content