BWW Review: Mesmerizingly Effective THE INTIMACY EFFECT
THE INTIMACY EFFECT/by Jeff Tabnick/directed by Eric Hunicutt/The Lounge Theatre/thru May 6, 2018
JTK Productions mounts a strong, involving production of the west coast premiere of playwright Jeff Tabnick's THE INTIMACY EFFECT. Director Eric Hunicutt tightly reins his talented cast of five in a very quick-paced 75 minutes. Smart and timely dialogue flows out of the impassioned actors all.
Doug and his wife Merrily have come to visit his brother Matt and his wife Amy the day just after Matt's birthday. Doug and Merrily walk in on Amy bawling her eyes out over something she won't talk about, or let Matt talk about. This evening's visit of couples (who haven't really kept in touch) keeps getting more and more uncomfortable for all involved as slivers of information of the upsetting situation reveal itself from the imploding Matt and Amy, along with some past brotherly one-upmanship preferably left unmentioned.The conversations, confrontations, accusations simply rev up amongst all four around the dinner table, then alternating between different pairs - the two brothers, each brother with his respective wife, the two wives. These four characters, totally inhabited by the skilled artists playing them, volley and return sharp barbs and stinging taunts like a well-oiled tennis match of top pros. Kudos to Toni Christopher and Tim Fannon as Amy and Matt, and Jordana Oberman and Robert Bella as Merrily and Doug. Not to give away the 'situation' that started all this, a flashback of another character's appearance Jennifer (a strong, yet very vulnerable Cassidy Schiltz), intensifies the probability of this tense powder keg 'situation' exploding to irreparable damage. Let's just say the final confrontation scenes between Oberman's Merrily with Bella's Doug, and Christopher's Amy with Fannon's Matt will take your breath away. You hold your breath until it's all over.
Only quibble would be the many, confusing inner monologues each character gives, not using the personal pronoun, but their own name. (i.e., Instead of Amy saying, "I feel bad. The character of Amy says, "Amy feels bad.")
Nice, detailed set design by Michael Fitzgerald of Amy and Matt's very lived-in dining room with patio upstage.
So worth getting intimate with THE INTIMACY EFFECT!