With his neurotic angst, his racist and sexist remarks, and the vicious streak of a bully, Ben dominates and even terrorises this small groups of New York friends.
His flatmate Kalyan, played by Kabir Singh is a Nepalese student of Business Studies who desperately wants to remain in the Big Apple after the completion of his formal education. Ben scorns the aspirations of the Nepalese student, insisting that he ought to go home and become an economist there.
There’s no love lost between Ben and Kalyan’s medico girlfriend, and their exchanges are some of the bitterest in the play.
Then there’s the old school friend whom Ben bumps into and invites home.
He’s another millennial: successful, privileged, and white. It’s his fiancée who is Ben’s secret love from primary school. Ben’s filthy scatological dream about Sarah unfortunately dominates Ben’s obsessions. This drives him to break up the couple and claim Sarah for himself.
The cast did a fine job of realising Eisenberg’s characters, especially Michael Becker, who must have had to channel his inner arsehole to play the vile Ben.
The play needs some serious dramaturgical and surgical work to sharpen it up, and share some of Ben’s witticisms around.
Until Feb 8. Addison Road Community Centre, 142 Addison Rd, Marrickville. $30-$355+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.tickettailor.com
Reviewed by Irina Dunn