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The Next Best Thing

theatre · antonio sacre and pan productions · Ages 18+ · one person show · United States

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Review by TONY FRANKEL

June 12, 2011 stage and cinema/bitter lemons

My overall impression

Theatre Critic from www.stageandcinema here. There is no doubt that Mr. Sacre is a gifted and compelling storyteller: I am sure that he could create an engaging piece about reading the morning paper. In THE NEXT BEST THING, a relationship that goes from Chicago to New York to Hollywood is examined with bittersweet clarity. It fascinates how Mr. Sacre is able to incorporate other themes along the journey, but the piece overall feels languid and lacks an urgency that is most necessary to bring the story to life. Even with a fascinating use of language, this solo outing was delivered as if we were having a cup of coffee at a diner, instead of using the stage as a vehicle to heighten the emotion and characters in the story. It starts out promising enough, but Paul Stein’s direction has the poor actor sitting in a chair for most of the piece. Perhaps this style of staging works best in a public school classroom, where Mr. Sacre also performs, but a theatre almost demands better use of the space. Certainly not a waste of your time, but it is ultimately a lukewarm experience, largely because the artist and director haven’t found the focus of the piece – the relationship itself appeared to be the centerpiece, but the storyteller’s journey to enlightenment seems to take the fizzle out of the meat of the story.

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