The Alice Complex

Playwright Peter Barr Nickowitz has bitten off a lot with his new play The Alice Complex — and shockingly managed to make it all work.

With an overarching theme of the relationship between women, Nickowitz alternates between his main plot, featuring a disillusioned student taking her feminist-studies professor hostage in the professor's home, and quick snapshots of mothers and daughters, therapists and their patients, female actors and their female lovers, and even two women discussing the very show we're watching, programs still clutched in their hands.

Of course, actors Lisa Banes and Xanthe Elbrick help Nickowitz immensely. Banes commands the stage with an authoritative voice and pitch-perfect timing as the professor (her drunk scene is beyond praiseworthy), and Elbrick swiftly navigates between three different accents with nary a slip. Discovering a show like The Alice Complex is the reason for the Fringe Festival's existence.

Presented by Tall Story Productions as part of the New York International Fringe Festival at the Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce St., NYC. Aug. 8-21. Remaining performances: Tue., Aug. 12, 7 p.m.; Fri., Aug. 15, 4:45 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 16, 9:30 p.m.; Thu., Aug. 21, 9:30 p.m. (212) 279-4488 or (866) 468-7619 or Casting by Meredith Tucker.