The central character isn't Garrett; it's Polly (Lorraine Rodriguez-Reyes), subject of the Nirvana song of the same name. She carries on a creepy affair with a man named Gerald Friend (Forbes March), whose physical resemblance to Cobain is presumably not coincidental. Garrett, who wants to prove that Cobain's death was really a murder, also draws the haunted girl into his orbit, which includes the prime suspect, Satanic heavy-metal dude Mason Dwyer (Michael Mallard).
For all its dropping of band names and wrestling with familiar indie-rock issues (like whether it's a sellout to sign with a major label), the play doesn't muster much rock-'n'-roll cred. I was interested to see that March is a veteran of such series as "All My Children," "One Life to Live," and "As the World Turns," because the whole tone of the play is reminiscent of daytime serials. By that I mean airless, humorless, and inauthentic, with lots of dialogue leading nowhere in particular. Arguably, it also gives too much credibility to the nonexistent mystery of who killed Kurt Cobain, whose death, like all premature celebrity deaths, has led to conspiracy theories of varying ludicrousness.
As far as I can tell, Oswald shot Kennedy, Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare, and Kurt Cobain blew his face off with a shotgun. He deserves a livelier and more compelling tribute.
Presented by East 3rd Productions at the Cherry Lane Studio Theatre, 38 Commerce St., NYC. Oct. 29–Nov. 12. Wed.–Fri., 7 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 7 p.m. (212) 352-3101, (866) 811-4111, www.theatermania.com, or www.barefoottheatrecompany.org.