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BWW Reviews: C.O.A.L. at 59E59 is Thought Provoking Theater Done Just Right

If no one believes the truth, does the truth really matter?


C.O.A.L. (Confessions of a Liar) is now on stage at 59E59 through this Sunday, March 22nd. With just a few performances left, we suggest you get your tickets now. It is a thought provoking piece, very well performed. Written by David Brian Colbert and directed by Craig Baldwin, C.O.A.L. reveals some interesting motivations that promote lies. The show has a truly intriguing plot.

The cast opens the show discussing that lies are commonplace and that people tell untruths just to make it through the day. The plot of C.O.A.L. is developed as a clever liar named Coal, revisits his early life in a small West Virginia town and introduces colorful and unsavory characters of his past. Along the way, he attempts to come to terms with the whoppers he has told to hide his own painful truth. Through a singular character portrayed by Man, Woman, Girl, and Boy, Coal finally tells the audience the daunting and disturbing tale of his youth that he has never been able to share.

The staging is simple but effective. With video screen projections, we are brought into Coal's first grade classroom, his home and to the expansive West Virginia countryside. Lisa Bostnar, David Brian Colbert, Jackson Tanner and Mirirai Sithole flawlessly assume multiple roles to reveal Coal's background that includes his difficult family life. The company of four also provides a discourse that works to reveal internal thoughts and motivations. The narrative is tight and well developed as the actors work through rapid exchanges. The mood of the the scenes are touching and dramatic but also have truly humorous moments.

The creative team for does an excellent job of bringing the C.O.A.L. to life with lighting design by Cory Pattak, costume design by Elizabeth Caruso, scenic design by Craig Baldwin, sound and projection design by Luke Norby and music by Dave Rubin.

C.O.A.L. may leave you wondering just how much truthfulness there is in human nature, especially when there are personal secrets to keep. This is an interesting piece of theater, done just right.

C.O.A.L. is presented by Mary J. Davis & MBL Productions. It runs for 90 minutes without an intermission at 59E59 Theater located at 59 East 59th Street, New York, NY 10022. To purchase tickets call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 or go to

Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg

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