The Last Days of Cleopatra: In Brief
Ireland's Laoisa Sexton (For Love) returns to New York with a very dark comedy about love, sex and family in Dublin, directed by Tim Ruddy.
The Last Days of Cleopatra: Theater review by Adam Feldman
It takes a while to get your bearings at The Last Days of Cleopatra. Laoisa Sexton’s dark Irish comedy mostly spills out in overlapping snatches of direct-address monologue, delivered in thick Dublin accents on a nearly bare stage. The effect is disorienting at first, but Sexton gradually daubs on details to create evocative portraits, by the end, of the play’s three main characters: Natalie (Sexton), a wounded young woman who wears furry costumes for a living; her brother, Jackey (the marvelously vivid Michael Mellamphy), a sad-but-sassy gay convenience-store worker; and their father, Harry (Kenneth Ryan), who has abandoned their dying mother but clings desperately to his ’70s macho-man style. All three are stalled at dangerous intersections of sex, death and money. Beaten down by working-class life, they struggle, not always valiantly, to muddle through to something somehow better. And Sexton’s dialogue carries them there; there’s plenty of punch in its bruised, sore arms.—Theater review by Adam Feldman
THE BOTTOM LINE An evocative depiction of fraying family ties.
Follow Adam Feldman on Twitter: @FeldmanAdam