Intimacy

1/6
2/6
Photograph: Monique Carboni
Intimacy
3/6
Photograph: Monique Carboni
Intimacy
4/6
Photograph: Monique Carboni
Intimacy
5/6
Photograph: Monique Carboni
Intimacy
6/6
Photograph: Monique Carboni
Intimacy

Intimacy. Acorn Theatre (see Off Broadway). By Thomas Bradshaw. Directed by Scott Elliott. With ensemble cast. Running time: 2hrs 15mins. One intermission.

Intimacy: In brief

The New Group continues its impressive commitment to provocateur Thomas Bradshaw (Burning) with the world premiere of his play about pornographers living next door to respectable suburban families. Scott Elliott directs a cast that includes Ella Dershowitz, Laura Esterman and Daniel Gerroll.

Intimacy: Theater review by David Cote

Imp-of-the-perverse scribe Thomas Bradshaw (Job, Burning) runs a tough obstacle course. On the one side there’s the small, conservative, aging theater audience, easily shocked and quick to exit huffily at—or before—intermission. (See reader comments below this review.) On the other side there’s, well, the rest of the culture. Nymphomaniac in the multiplex. Masters of Sex in prime time. Both of which make his porn-in-suburbia satire, Intimacy, look pretty tame. True, we get two healthy ejaculations from prosthetic dongs (watch out, front row!) and plenty of full frontal, but without much cause to care about the situation or characters, limp and dry puns starting coming (sorry) to mind.

Bradshaw’s dialogue, a curious alloy of sketch-comedy deadpan and unfiltered tastelessness with flashes of poetic honesty, occupies a neatly plotted structure: the neighborhood comedy-drama. Despite the tale’s omnipresence of porn, both online and filmed by randy young cinéaste Matthew (Austin Cauldwell), there’s not one vaginal penetration in the play. Instead, characters young and old engage in masturbation, fellatio and anilingus. Touchingly, the last act helps one couple’s marriage. There's some icky business between parents and children, but nothing you'd call straight-up incest.

Bradshaw’s view of sex is anything but shocking: We should do what feels good, communicate with our partners and not let religion or labels fill us with guilt. He and director Scott Elliott steer us to this uncontroversial message with a game bunch of actors. If the cast is uneven or uncertain at moments, that only enhances the slightly tacky, caricatured nature of the material. Seasoned thespian Daniel Gerroll is most effective as an uptight Englishman whose grief over a dead wife has driven him into pious puritanism. But then, he has more of a journey than the rest, who are mostly okay with their proclivities. These include porn-star-next-door Janet (Ella Dershowitz), down-low bisexual dad Fred (David Anzuelo) and his cancer-survivor daughter, Sarah (Déa Julien), as sweet as she is into frottage.

Despite the reputation of his work to inspire cringing or averted eyes, Bradshaw insists in interviews that he’s not trying to provoke—really! After Intimacy, a piece that offers more challenges to the stage-cleaning crew than the average playgoer, I believe him. In fact, more provocation would have been nice. It’s like the playwright rolled over and started snoring.—Theater review by David Cote

Follow David Cote on Twitter: @davidcote

Click here for discount Broadway and Off Broadway tickets.

Event phone: 212-244-3380
Event website: http://thenewgroup.org

Average User Rating

3.2 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:2
LiveReviews|5
1 person listening
Chad Hudson

LOVED IT!!!! But then again I'm from a VERY liberal family where I've done EVERYTHING in this play +++++. Very free sexually with myself, my fam, relatives, besties, and pets (yeah, I DO go there.........just sayin'........check it OUT!!!!)

Mo Ibrahim

Despite what your subjective view of the play is, it's art imitating a lot of lives in America and Europe - in particular the age-discrepant relationship and the prevalence of (amateur teen) pornography. 5 stars for that. Google 'The Allure of Nymphets'

pete mccabe

My experience was different. I thought it was satiric farce. What began as a gentle neighborhood drama, drifted into a disturbing questioning of our culture's relationship with pornography, to the point where what was unspeakable was commonplace.

gg

Agree with R&R, what a waist of time and money. Crude, vulgar and a terrible script. Mexican dude is an embarrassment, while trying to get a hard-on while on stage but ends up going softie until he decides to give a BJ to his son in law as that was what he prefers. Other than that, everyone is naked, including a black man taking a nasty dump on a loud toilet....you decide.

R &R Panken

The worst play we have ever seen. It is pure explicit pornography with little content. Amateurish, and put on for the shock effect. Message if you free yourself sexually you will be a more fulfilled person. Everyone being sexually intimate with everyone else. Mother. Father, daughter, son no boundaries. Explicit video showing the sexual acts were revolting and insulting. DO NOT SEE THIS PLAY or any play by this author.