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Poison Apple

Photograph: Susan Lambert
"Everything's a gamble," says Paul as he warily lets a handsome stranger into his Hell's Kitchen apartment, supposedly to wait for Paul's absent roommate. Based on true events, playwright Seth Galuszka's Poison Apple is a 75-minute conversation in which small talk is dotted with little red flags that gradually arouse suspicion. But although it is billed as a "sexy psycho-thriller," Apple never quite evolves into the promised lusty nail-biter; too much of the play is dedicated to uncomfortable banter as the two men slowly get acquainted. Conjuring suspense and shock from today's jaded audiences is no easy task, and toward the end of the play, when the action finally ramps up, moments intended to elicit gasps provoke pockets of laughter instead. Not all Fringe gambles come up wins. (Visit fringenyc.org for more information.)—David Bell