Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Review: Kin at Playwrights Horizons

Family dramas are standard off-Broadway fare. In fact, Bathsheba Doran's Kin is the third family drama at Playwrights Horizons this season (the others being A Small Fire and After The Revolution). Yet, Kin feels fresh through honesty, quirky humor, and original design elements.

Anna (Kristen Bush) is a poetry scholar, working on her dissertation (later book), Keats's Punctuation. She has a habit of dating jerks until her best friend Helena (Laura Heisler) suggests that she change the criteria in her online dating profile. Anna starts dating Sean (Patch Darragh), an Irish personal trainer, and the play deals with Anna and Sean's relationships to their families and each other over the course of several years. Changes in time are signaled by where Anna is at with her book and other small details, but it's never explicitly stated when scenes jump forward in time.

Maybe it has to do with where I am in my life, but I found the conversations (some of which never go anywhere) and characters extremely relatable (credit where credit is due--the fine ensemble is a huge reason for this). Anna and Sean's relationship is realistic--they have problems and don't seem completely happy together, but they still want to make it work. I would have liked to see more of the development of their relationship--we never really know what they see in each other in the first place--but this is somewhat rectified with a flashback scene towards the end.

The main piece in Paul Steinberg's versatile set is a frame that becomes different locations based on the backdrops used or its position (it rotates, sometimes while a scene is taking place). Those with allergies should be aware that there is a lot of fog in the production, but the results are worth it, for perhaps the most effective use of fog ever in a play.

Special KIN offer for Pataphysical Science blog readers:

Order by March 21 with code KINGR and tickets are only:

· $40* (reg. $70) for the first 16 perfs (Feb. 25 – March 10)

· $55 (reg. $70) for all remaining performances March 11 – April 3


· Order online at www.ticketcentral.com. Use code KINGR.

· Call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 (Noon-8pm daily)

· Present a printout of this blog post to the Ticket Central box office at 416 West 42nd Street (Noon-8pm daily).

*A limited number of $40 discounted tickets will be available for purchase. Subject to availability. Valid only in select rows.

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