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Adagio Teas
   Features  >  NY Theater Reviews

at the Public, New York

By Robert Cashill

  (L-R) Daphne-Vega and Philip Seymour Hoffman/Photo: Monique Carboni

Known for slash-and-burn pieces like Our Lady of 121st Street, the LAByrinth Theater Company tries a little tenderness with Bob Glaudini's Jack Goes Boating. You can tell it's a stab at romantic comedy as no one calls anyone or anything a "motherfucking cocksucker" till late in the second act, which is schoolmarm-prim.

Prior to that sparks have been igniting between personality-challenged Jack (played by company co-artistic director Philip Seymour Hoffman in his first stage appearance since winning the Oscar for Capote), a New York limo driver who looks like an unmade bed, and the tentative Connie (Beth Cole), who has been hounded recently by the deaths of her parents, sexual harassment, and subway crime. Helping Jack find his feet as a potential boyfriend is his best friend Clyde (company co-artistic director John Ortiz), who teaches Jack to swim, the better to help him satisfy Connie's desire to go boating once the harsh winter ends. But Clyde needs to learn to go with the flow where his own live-in relationship with the feisty Lucy (Daphne Rubin-Vega) is concerned, or his jealousy (and party-favor cocaine) may capsize Jack and Connie's fragile relationship.

Like the lighter passages in John Cassavetes films, Jack Goes Boating is shaggily, raggedly off-balance, and kept afloat by its charming quartet under Peter DuBois' direction. David Korins' clever set, which evokes a swimming pool in some scenes, adds substantial appeal to their shambling efforts to connect.


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