Spotlight: That Face
Polly Stenham's That Face took London theater by storm in 2007, earning the young writer—she was still a teenager when she wrote the play—plenty of plaudits for her incisive writing and dark humor. Maybe something got lost in the trip over the Atlantic, but the current production from the 20% Theatre Company left me mainly with 100 minutes of "I don't care." None of the characters is particularly interesting, while the transgressive parts about a lost generation of youth are laughably over the top. It turns on two fucked-up siblings: Henry, a dropout artist wannabe who is in over his head trying to care for his seriously mentally ill mother, and Izzy, his younger sister, who has gotten into trouble at boarding school for a hazing incident gone wrong (including a Valium overdose and a beating). Their absent father parachutes in to try to make things right and is, understandably, horrified by what he sees. Stenham's script is meant to push buttons—Mom Martha's love for Henry goes far beyond motherly, for example—but doesn't allow them enough humanity to make it tragic or enough black humor to make it comedic. It doesn't help that Mykel Pennington doesn't take Martha very deep or that Avi Aharoni plays Henry with exactly two notes: brooding and over-the-top intense. Others in the cast make stronger characters, especially Lexi Duffy as Mia and Nikki Akinbasote as Izzy, but the black hole at the center drains most of the interest. $12-$20. 711 Franklin Avenue West, Minneapolis; 612.227.1188. Through June 19
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