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Snag

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Reviewed by Glenda Frank

Presented at St. Marks Studio Theatre, 94 St. Mark's Place, NYC, Aug 16-26.

Anyone who's been through a divorce or break-up knows the three-way conversation between body, heart, and head narrated by Lloyd Winwright (Nicholas Papademetriou) in "Snag" by Tobsha Learner, a one-man show from Australia that took the Edinburgh Fringe Festival by storm. The body says "anybody, right now, it's been so long," while the heart wants nobody at all because of the pain. And the head asks, "How long do you think it will last? Is this the right one?"

Directed by Sarah Carradine, "Snag" has no news, but it's cleverly cobbled with insight, humor, and spirited phrasing. Lloyd, who has found a mysterious long red hair on his matrimonial pillow, works his way through male bonding, a playboy friend as mentor, the singles scene, and unsettling financial agreements back to a new love interest. He's just an ordinary Joe, pleasant, non-malicious, and "not built for tragedy"—he just wants to be a good ad-man. He finds his ego trailing through the grass when he discovers that his rival is not what he'd expected.

Papademetriou's performance is so natural that it seems more like conversation, but it takes hard work to manage all the clothing changes and the physical demands and to render up the various voices—10 says the program—of people who enter our hero's life. Some are pure cartoon, like the dentist, who is on his sixth wife by the end. He brings Lloyd to a men's group in order to "cathart." And so we visit the leader of the men's group, who wears a sarong to get in touch with his femininity, and Wayne, taciturn and violent, who cries when the men hold him. There are some lovely literary moments, including playboy Roberto's list of familiar feminist books that he uses to seduce women, and a visit to a disco that's a sort of "Alice in Wonderland" on drugs.

Lloyd remains blameless in the divorce until the end, when we learn he had chosen a football game over celebrating his wedding anniversary. This makes it easy not to take sides, just to empathize with the human situation and to laugh at the many absurdities.

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