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Review: 'This' at the Phoenix

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4 stars

Phoenix Theatre. Written by Melissa James Gibson. Directed by Dale McFadden.

This is a seriously funny play. Melissa James Gibson’s witty rumination on friendship, marriage, parenthood, death, adultery and growing up is ambitious. Yet, it's easy to revel in the mishaps and misdeeds of her tightly drawn characters through the lens of Dale McFadden’s crisp direction.

Swiftly performed dialogue grabs hold of the audience in this absorbing dramedy about friends who float through their lives simultaneously wounding and loving one another. Scot Greenwell is charming as the earnest and self-deprecating gay friend trapped in the crisis of a wasted life. Though Jennifer Johansen’s performance is melodramatic at times, she creates a heart wrenching experience at the climax of the story.

The play unravels the complex relationships that permeate the human condition with the simplicity of one word: THIS. This affair, this emptiness, this betrayal, this loss, this love, this feeling (whatever “this” is at the moment).

Through April 24. 635-PLAY www.phoenixtheatre.org.

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