Reviews of Lancelot

Cast of Lancelot from left: Romy Nordlinger, Grant Riordon, Stephen James Anthony, Lulu Fogarty

review by JK Clarke on August 16, 2014 for Theater Pizzazz

Director Thom Fogarty’s set is intriguing: a bed in the middle of the theater, with the audience sitting in chairs lining either side. It’s clever staging that points out the bed’s significance in the whole messy affair…Nordlinger’s interloping Ginger is sexy and mysterious, as she should be, but also vulnerable and sensitive. Though she’s the play’s real, blameworthy catalyst, she’s a sympathetic enough character that it’s easy to try to hold her blameless. And [Stephen James] Anthony and Lulu Fogarty play their righteous, wholesome middle class roles beautifully. Even as Tara slips into some potentially implausible situations, we believe her because Fogarty (dynamic and clever) pulls it off so well….Lancelot explores the space between the poor decisions of misguided youth and the attempt to have an orderly adult life: what we dreamed of being versus the reality of what it is easier to be. It’s an intriguing take (at an exploded, super-enhanced level), but somehow we can all relate. We come to realize that sometimes it’s best just to let go of regret and move forward with life as we know it.

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review by Kathleen Campion on August 16, 2014 for Front Row Center

There is a lot of pretty flesh showcased in LancelotThat flesh is draped on a bare-bones production of a powerful play.…. Ryan (Stephen James Anthony) is buttoned up and working hard to convince himself and everyone else that this life is the good life.   The actor has chops.  We believe him as this rigid, automaton.  And we believe the several ‘ages of man’ he gives us later…. Fourteen-year-old Grant Riordon plays the Boy.  The towheaded boy is beautiful and sensual, maybe a bit feral.  It is difficult to believe he grows up to be our very straight laced — and not especially handsome — hero.   But of course, that’s the thing; Ryan’s been smothering that beautiful boy for a decade. Riordon is appealing and manages — one assumes through deft direction — to inhabit a third space: He’s there and not there.…Romy Nordlinger struts and primps…She is feline and confident and quick to use the past to unwind his defenses.  (“I recall you liked big breasts.  You were crazy about mine.  You’d push your face down into them like a parched boy drinking in a cool stream.”)  Nordlinger and Anthony establish a polished push-me/pull-me connection as they approach and withhold.  The tension is palpable between them…..The staging in Judson’s stark gymnasium space has the verve of Blackwatch, using all the space inventively.  Director and designer Thom Fogarty trusts the audience to fill in the blanks and absorb the efficient scene-change blackouts.  Fechter’s script is tight and layered, and speaks to big themes about art and talent, gender and morality.   His characters are complicated and do not happily resolve themselves in ninety minutes……There is real theater here. Try to get a ticket.

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review by Dave Osmundsen on August 15, 2014 for Stage Buddy

Playwright Steven Fechter has written an effective piece about what happens when the past comes back to haunt you….the leisurely pacing gives us time to get to know the characters and where they come from.  Once the play starts to pick up, it is riveting.  The audience sits on two sides of the playing space, the central piece is a bed covered in golden blankets and pillows to represent a hotel room.  The two other locations in the play, inside and outside of United Goods, are placed at opposite ends of the playing space.  This expansive use of the room effectively fills the Gym at Judson, yet simultaneously creates an intimate playing space where the actors are occasionally inches away from the audience….Individually, Stephen James Anthony and Romy Nordlinger turn in wonderful performances: Mr. Anthony is completely believable as a man who, whether he likes it or not, is still a rebellious youth at heart….Ms. Nordlinger is sultry, sexy and vulnerable.  Together they have sparks of sexual chemistry…

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review by Matthew Murray on August 14, 2014 for Talkin’ Broadway Off Broadway

Youthful fantasies may be a vital part of growing up, but just as with the influence of teachers, parents, and friends, their effects can linger — and do considerable damage — once you've grown up. Steven Fechter's new play Lancelot, which just opened at the Gym at Judson, is a provocative, if not always elegant, exploration of this concept, and not just from the viewpoint of the young. If you accept that adolescent dreams don't always end just because adolescence does, you're opening the door to a world of problems that no amount of time, therapy, recovery, or for that matter sex can fix…This twistiness of the simple plot, and director Thom Fogarty's stark staging (a bed, flanked by three rows of audience seating, is the only real furnishing), keep this from playing as merely the schematic deconstruction of a statutory rape story it technically is… Romy Nordlinger layers complicated emotions onto Ginger, and manages them with intricate aplomb: A savage longing behind her eyes testifies to the woman's sensuous and predatory natures…And Steven James Anthony brings a vivid emptiness to Ryan, underscoring his hurt, his sensitivity, and his libido alike; he finds particularly compelling ferocity in two scenes in which Ryan gives in to the violent temptations Ginger instilled him, one while naked on a bed, the other fully clothed and holding a drawing pencil….Ryan and Ginger are solid creations, and reveal fascinating shadings of morality amid a world that's depicted, not always without reason, as intensely monochromatic. This also explains the significance of the play's title: a crusader for purity who gets wrapped up in the sins he abhors and, in struggling to make things better, succeeds in little more than making them worse. That Fechter keeps you wondering throughout who the real Lancelot is proves to be the chief success of his cunning little play.

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review from Howard Miller on August 14, 2014 for Upstage-Downstage

'Lancelot,' By Steven Fechter, Reminds Us That We Can Never Escape Our Past

Steven Fechter’s compelling and psychologically complex new drama, Lancelot, having its world premiere under the direction of Thom Fogarty at The Gym at Judson. …Ryan (portrayed by Stephen James Anthony with the deer-in-the-headlights look of someone who clings to banality as a drowning man might embrace a life preserver)…Lulu Fogarty, who provides her character with a marvelously accentuated combo Midwestern/Southern speech pattern and a don’t-nobody-dare-get-in-my-way attitude….Grant Riordon, making his New York theatrical debut and more than holding his own with the rest of the more experienced cast…If all of this sounds a tad melodramatic, it is. It also veers into a kind of psychodrama that might remind you of some of the excesses of Peter Shaffer's Equus. But the excellent actors and their director mine the script for every ounce of truth as the layers are peeled away bit by bit.  And even when we are pretty sure where things are heading, the play offers up surprising twists that prevent any of the characters from behaving exactly as we might expect. The thrill of watching the plot unfold is in seeing the walls closing in on Ryan as he strives to decide which trap door to fall through—for trap doors are all that are available to him.

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 Lulu Fogarty, Walter Brandes, and Christine Verleny in THE MENTEE. Photo by Carolina Kroon.

Lulu Fogarty, Walter Brandes, and Christine Verleny in THE MENTEE. Photo by Carolina Kroon.

Written by Steven Fechter / Directed by Thom Fogarty

review by Benjamin Coleman on 10.22.12 for www.theasy.com

  • An emotionally draining evening of family turmoil
  • The play lives in a heightened state of reality
  • Strong performances, with standout Lulu Fogarty

...There is something inherently theatrical about the play itself; it leaps from moments of quiet, to grand and horrific storytelling. Thom Fogarty's stylized direction harnesses Fechter's artistic voice, and causes his actors to interact earnestly at times, and at others deliver their dialogue faced out to the audience, severing their personal connections. This disconnect allows the production to draw attention to those moments when characters savagely cut into each other, and the effect is powerful and rightfully exhausting...

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Written By Steven Fechter / Directed By Thom Fogarty

review by Martin Denton on April 18, 2012 for www.nytheatre.com

If you just happened to meet Laura Wingfield one day, would she know that her glass menagerie was a symbol of her own fragility and uniqueness?

This is one of the potent ideas in Steven Fechter's engaging and entertaining new play The Artifacts, which is debuting this month courtesy of Other Side Productions and Thom Fogarty, who also directs....

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Written By Paula Vogel / Directed By Thom Fogarty

review by Mark DeMaio in October 2011 for Soho Journal Online [This review was not published]

Director Thom Fogarty has a gift for finding reimagined works by hugely talented writers and reimagining them one step further with his own quirky and dramatic twists. This visionary director also has an inherent gift for making the very most with the very least by staging his productions with minimal scenery and maximum storytelling. I believe one of his greatest gifts is being able to corral a gifted cast to carry out his vision...

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