The Shape of Something Squashed: In brief
After a two-year, multimillion-dollar renovation, Tom Noonan's Paradise Factory reopens its gates with the premiere of Noonan's comedy about a journeyman actor filling in for a star at a backers' audition.
The Shape of Something Squashed: Review by Jenna Scherer
Sometimes, the title writes the review for you. Tom Noonan’s new play—which he wrote, directed and stars in—is indeed lumpy and misshapen, like a cake that fell in the oven. At an Off Broadway theater, narcissistic performers Hermione and Sedge (Monique Vukovic, Grant James Varjas) are preparing to present their latest work to a team of backers. In orbit around them are Douglas, a failed actor they keep mistaking for a chauffeur (Noonan), and a roundly abused Uzbeki intern (Talia Lugacy).
The script keeps hitting the same tired beats over and over—the stage diva is self-obsessed, Douglas can’t stand up for himself—and it becomes hard to care about anyone’s problems. Quietly affecting turns from Noonan and Lugacy help humanize Squashed a bit, but any time our preening stars are onstage, you mostly want to slap some decency into them.—Theater review by Jenna Scherer
THE BOTTOM LINE Rude stage hogs don’t add up to a compelling backstage drama.