Smashing

Presented by The Play Company, casting by Vince Liebhart/Tom Alberg, at the Intar 53 Theatre, 508 W. 53 St., NYC, Oct. 4-26.

Much like the collage of travel mementos displayed in the lobby of the Intar 53 Theatre, Brooke Berman's "Smashing" is a montage of short scenes and related monologues that gives a fascinating glimpse into the lives of two impetuous single women and the men who surround them. From authors in America to Madonna in London, the stage scrapbook glues together many disparate pieces to make a satisfyingly quirky portrait of young love.

Abby is a bold, independent young lady who has a famous writer for a father and an ex-boyfriend named Jason who is also hot on the best-seller list. The problem is that the latter has made his claim to fame by graphically writing about the affair he had with sexy Abby while she was still a teenager. With the help of her offbeat friend Clea, Abby decided to track her tell-all former beau down in England and give him his comeuppance in person. The chances that she will go through with her vengeful plan slip, though, once she reunites with her ex-lover.

Berman's dialogue is tart, her structure is taut, and her thematic aim is true. She manages to make each character stereotypical yet memorable, while probing such topics as obsession and exploitation with a no-holds-barred approach. Trip Cullman directs with a sharp sense of ironic wit and an equally edgy pacing. His ensemble seizes the play with vibrant portrayals, and features Katharine Powell as sassy sexpot Abby, Joseph Siravo as her emotionally unavailable dad, Merritt Wever as clever and impulsive Clea, David Barlow as charming yet challenging Jason, Lucas Papaelias as a love-struck bloke who falls for Clea, and Katherine Waterston as a nubile book fan.

The tech elements are divine, including Erik Flatmo's sturdy set design, Michael Krass' detailed costumes, Paul Whitaker's versatile lighting, and Scott Myers' impressive sound work.