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Blue Window

Presented by Barbara Ann O'Connor, Michael Rafael and Cellar Door Productions at the 28th Street Theater, 120 W. 28 St., NYC, July 2-28.

Craig Lucas' "Blue Window" is a modern comedy with witty, insightful dialogue, exquisite direction, and finely tuned performances. Beneath the humor are unspoken fear, social anxiety, and personal tenuousness shaped by experience.

Marin Hinkle proves an engaging actor with or without words. She perfectly demonstrates her talents in the first few unscripted moments when her character, Libby, prepares dinner for her guests. It is both hysterical and horrifying when she loses a cap opening a jar of caviar with her teeth, just minutes before her newfound friends arrive.

The first scene features Libby downstage while behind her invited guests, particularly two couples, warily prepare for a party where they know little about the other invitees. Once they come together at Libby's, the highs and lulls of the party conversation reveal some of these people's underlying needs and concerns.

Hinkle's Libby has the hardest (and funniest) time of socializing while covering her mouth every time she speaks in order to hide the gaping hole where her tooth used to be. But Neal Huff as Libby's friend, Griever, does the best job of cover-up with his ready one-liners and infectious humor.

An unexpected surrealistic moment disrupts this perfect façade. While the other characters remain frozen in place, the quiet Emily (Katy Hansz) launches into a beautiful sad song about her past. This act unlocks the key to the final dramatic scene where Boo (Marcia DeBonis) confronts Alice (Hope Chernov) about her self-obsessive behavior, and Libby shares with Norbert (Jason Kolotouros) the intimate tragedy that still haunts her. The ensemble cast also features Josh Stamberg as Tom, an overly serious musician.

Julia Gibson's direction is crisp, with skilled economical use of space. Set and lighting designers Randall Parsons and Josh Bradford, respectively, create a unifying multi-location set with a luminous blue backdrop.

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