Gotta get tix…
Saturday, February 5th, 2005
NYTimes theater review:
…a monologue that runs just over an hour and requires minimal stagecraft, is as unassuming in its means as it is astonishing in its impact. It’s one of those treasured nights in the theater – treasured nights anywhere, for that matter – that can leave you both breathless with exhilaration and, depending on your sensitivity to meditations on the bleak and beautiful mysteries of human experience, in a puddle of tears. Also in stitches, here and there.
Speechless, in any case.
It nearly defies description, and yet invites embarrassingly vague panegyrics, the kind critics like to think they’re above. Are above. Except for this one occasion. Really. So here goes: Run, don’t walk. Four stars. Plus an extra. If you care about theater, blah blah blah. If you only see one show Off Broadway this season, etc.
Uh-oh. Mr. Eno’s voice is so jaggedly quirky, crisp and hypnotic that it seems to have co-opted my own. Forgive the hysteria. Or the faux hysteria.
Anyway, “Thom Pain (based on nothing)” is, as noted above, a solo show. But don’t turn the page just yet. Mr. Eno and his performer, the actor James Urbaniak, hereby reinvent that seemingly moribund theatrical genre. Mr. Urbaniak, a much-employed Off Broadway actor, also establishes himself as a significant artist with his sly, heartbreaking, exquisitely calibrated turn as Mr. Eno’s antihero/narrator/master of ceremonies. Before going farther it’s only fair to include the evening’s director, Hal Brooks, among the triumphant; his work, too, is witty, sensitive and close to perfection.