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Theater Review (NYC): Rainbow Kiss

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Well, I almost walked out on this one, folks. Only the reviewer in me made me stay. How can you review a play if you don't see the thing all the way through? So I stuck it out. What I could not figure out was why the rest of the audience stayed. They seemed interested, chatty even. Perhaps these are the same people who tune in to Survivor each week….

Rainbow Kiss is a story set in Scotland, where the mining isn't happening anymore, and everyone is depressed, in debt, and drinking a fair amount. First off you'll notice that all the actors' accents are a little different, sometimes very thick, sometimes non-existent (it's a bitch of an accent to do), and the one actor who is from Scotland has the mildest accent of them all – because he's not trying to sound like anything.

There is a lot of trying in this play. For instance, the playwright is trying to make us like the single father at the center of the story. He lives in a flat that reminds me of all the sad sorry places I saw when I was drifting around in my 20's. As this kid is in his 20's I guess that makes sense. What doesn't is that he is in charge of an eight-month-old baby he keeps offstage on the floor of "the other room," who we can hear through the walls when he talks to the kid. Weird.

This man is a sorry excuse for a person, either drunk or filled with more saliva than he needs. He mewls about feeling alternately sorry for himself and overwhelmed. Then he falls in love like a hot rock dropped on your foot. He crashes down at the feet of a woman he has picked up at a bar and with whom he has sex on stage in one of the most awkward scenes I have ever witnessed. The director seems to have told them, "OK, see what you can do to act like you're having sex, but I don't want to see A-N-Y body parts. None. Zip." And they do try, these two actors. And they fail.

Desperate pleading and arguments ad nauseum follow. The only thing that breaks this up is Robert Hogan's portrayal of a withering neighbor who can't even hold down a job as Santa for more than a couple of hours. He is a lost soul who would rather spend the rest of his life sipping whiskey and telling stories. And I, for one, would listen.

As for the "rainbow kiss," those of you really interested in what that means can Google your hearts out; there isn't one to be seen or talked about in this play. Like its plot and character development, the Rainbow Kiss is MIA.

Rainbow Kiss by Simon Farquhar, directed by Will Frears.

With Michael Cates, Robert Hogan, Charlotte Parry, and Peter Scanavino. Continues through April 13 at 59E59 Theaters, 59 East 59th Street, NYC; (212) 279-4200.

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