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All the Fine Boys
Photograph: Monique Carboni

Theater review: Girls go wild in the New Group’s All the Fine Boys

Written by
Raven Snook

A dual coming-of-age tale set in ’80s suburban South Carolina, writer-director Erica Schmidt's raw one-act drama at the New Group juxtaposes the first sexual encounters of a pair of 14-year-old BFFs as they pursue their respective crushes. While this is hardly virgin territory, there's a stinging authenticity to their awkward interactions that's alternately hilarious and horrifying.

You can tell by her junk-food diet and how long she stays out at night that lifelong townie Jenny (Abigail Breslin, struggling a bit) lacks a stable home life. Meanwhile relative newcomer Emily (Isabelle Fuhrman, excellent) is keen to shake up her sheltered existence. Their wildly different backgrounds inform their choices of lovers: Jenny picks Smiths-crooning senior Adam (Alex Wolff, spot-on) while Jenny takes up with Joseph, a 28-year-old man from church (Joe Tippett, letting glimmers of humanity shine through the sleaze).

Organized into a series of two-person scenes, All the Fine Boys falls into a predictable rhythm, though a few necessarily stomach-churning sequences jolt. You'll probably know where these ladies are headed long before they do, but that comes from experienceand that's exactly what they go in search of, with life-changing results.

Pershing Square Signature Center (Off Broadway). Written and directed by Erica Schmidt. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 40mins. No intermission. Through Mar 26. Click here for full venue and ticket information.

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