Monday, October 27, 2008

Capture Now


By Josh Jonas. Dir. Larry Moss. Theatres at Bleecker Street. (CLOSED)

Is Josh Jonas' solo show a TV-movie tearjerker about an older brother's relationship with his cancer-ridden younger brother? Or are the tears honestly earned? Critics universally appreciated Jonas' performance and Larry Moss' direction, but they split on this central question.

Talkin Broadway A-
(Matthew Murray) Unlike with garden-variety tearjerkers, such as those that litter the Lifetime network or the plays that seem to have been based on its programming, Jonas makes you work for those tears...Jonas so vividly constructs and performs the fraternal core of his drama, Elijah and Ace Blaivas, that you feel as though you've known this struggling family all your life...This glimmering gem of a play earns every box of Kleenex you'll need to get through it, smoothly proving along the way that even the smallest of people can have a huge impact on our lives.

TheaterMania B+
(Dan Balcazo) The show is likely to stir up some strong emotions, even if some aspects seem contrived...Jonas has a strong stage presence and seemingly boundless energy...Director Larry Moss has no doubt assisted Jonas in making each and every character he performs distinct. Many of these impressions are painted in broad strokes, with the writer/performer taking on an accent or other stereotypical mode of conveying character. However, he never goes so far as to depict a complete caricature.

NY Times B
(Andy Webster) Given the premise, the suds here are easy to whip up. But there are other elements enabling Mr. Jonas to tell the story convincingly: his Long Island background, obvious love of music and fluid command and pacing of the material, aided by Larry Moss's direction...Mr. Jonas evinces a bit too much relish in raising his voice to generate dramatic heat...and his portrayal of the women pales next to the men.

Talk Entertainment C+
(Oscar E Moore) Sometimes in these solo shows the actor accomplishes that rare feat of becoming all the characters - with a different tilt of the head or change in body language or change in tone of voice or making use of the ubiquitous imaginary cigarette. Josh Jones partially succeeds...Larry Moss, the director, has Josh all over the intimate space - eventually coming back, always, to a stool stage center. It's a well paced performance but the play never "clicked" for me—it never rises above the "let me tell you a story" aspect. Never becomes totally compelling.

Variety C
(Sam Thielman) [Jonas] performs his own sporadically funny script with some polish—helmer Larry Moss is a well-known acting teacher—but no real insight...The dramaturgy is tight, and every single character Jonas introduces comes back into the plot in an interesting way. Strangely, the piece is both too ambitious and not ambitious enough—Jonas wants an emotional connection to his audience, but he'd rather not challenge them to get it.

Back Stage D+
(Jerry Portwood) Josh Jonas is a suitable storyteller. His fresh-faced charisma and everyman swagger convey comforting middle-class confidence. He'd make an excellent motivational speaker...Unfortunately, Jonas' writing in Capture Now, his one-man show about brotherly bonds, could use some serious work. As it stands, the saccharine story lacks tension and drama and wouldn't even fly as a hackneyed made-for-television tale.

Talkin Broadway A- 13; TheaterMania B+ 11; NY Times B 10; Talk Entertainment C+ 8; Variety C 7; Back Stage D+ 5; TOTAL: 54 / 6 = 9 (B-)

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