Our New Girl: In brief
In the American premiere of a drama by England's Nancy Harris, a pregnant woman and her disturbed young son get thrown for a loop when a not-so-merry nanny pops into their home. Gaye Taylor Upchurch directs; the cast includes Lisa Joyce and Atlantic mainstay Mary McCann.
Our New Girl: Theater review by Helen Shaw
The Atlantic looks eastward again for another realistic thriller—this time to Irish playwright Nancy Harris and her well-received Our New Girl. Unfortunately, it has the same trouble that Simon Stephens’s Harper Regan did: star (and Atlantic founding member) Mary McCann, who struggles with the accent and the necessary verisimilitude.
Overwhelmed British mum Hazel (McCann) tries to gain control of her creepy eight-year-old, Daniel (Henry Kelemen). Hazel’s husband, Richard (C.J. Wilson), has hired au pair Annie (a super Lisa Joyce) without warning; a charity-minded plastic surgeon, he’s a goner the moment he sees the nanny’s alluring scar. Our New Girl is a pastiche trading on films such as The Bad Seed and The Hand That Rocks the Cradle: Hazel’s an impatient mum, which, in this postfeminist nightmare, cues awful suffering. Harris orchestrates efficient scares, and Gaye Taylor Upchurch’s lush production slickly executes them, but McCann seems barely affected. “You have to take care of something you’re frightened of,” Hazel admonishes, tonelessly. The problem here is the reverse: We aren’t frightened for someone we can’t care for.—Theater review by Helen Shaw
THE BOTTOM LINE This horror play lacks a heroine to scream for.