From Russia with fear

From left:?Sarah Steele, Janeane Garofalo and Raviv Ullman star in “Russian Transport.”

“She a scary woman,” says her brother, Boris (Morgan Spector), in his broken English. “A fascist,” answers her daughter, Mira (Sarah Steele). 

She is Diana, played with panache and a thick Russian accent by Janeane Garofalo in “Russian Transport” at Theatre Row. With deadpan delivery, Garofalo makes Diana an almost clownish yet authentic bully. Her threats (“I pull you fingernails out”) are empty, but you wouldn’t want to get on her bad side, especially if you’re one of the offspring she keeps under her thumb.    

But her effect on her children pales next to that of their Uncle Boris, newly arrived from Russia. He galvanizes 14-year-old Mira’s sexuality in ways that are not always clear or pleasant. And he recruits 18-year-old Alex (Raviv Ullman) into chauffeuring unknowing young girls, presumably destined for the sex trade, from the airport.

Director Scott Elliott elicits uniformly strong performances from the tight ensemble, which also includes Daniel Oreskes as Diana’s husband, Misha.  Derek McLane’s set convincingly evokes a Sheepshead Bay duplex, but scenes played on the upper level lose some of their immediacy. 

Playwright Erika Sheffer has a gift for delivering information obliquely, although occasionally her lack of specificity is frustrating. Still, watching Alex struggle with his dilemma against the backdrop of family life worn thin by Boris’ disruptive presence is consistently involving. With a nonchalant style that seems rambling but is actually structured, Sheffer keeps you engaged, if sometimes puzzled.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

NHL

Rangers' speed versus Flyers' size makes interesting playoff…

Among the myriad aspects that will make this Metropolitan Division semifinal series fascinating will be the battle between the Rangers' speed and the Flyers' size,…

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.