Theater review: ‘Madrid’ is a mystery

Edie Falco, left, and Phoebe Strole strive to make amends within "The Madrid." Credit: Joan Marcus
Edie Falco, left, and Phoebe Strole strive to make amends within “The Madrid.”
Credit: Joan Marcus

There’s certainly something to be said for the fresh dialogue, zippy zingers and well-drawn characters in Manhattan Theater Club’s “The Madrid” at City Center. They make for striking interchanges and more than a few good laughs. But ultimately Liz Flahive’s latest doesn’t add up to much. A black hole at its center drains its energy and marginalizes its impact.

Martha (Edie Falco) is a kindergarten teacher who one day tells her class she’ll be “right back.” She disappears. Her husband John (John Ellison Conlee) and daughter Sarah (Phoebe Strole, reminiscent of Ellen Page at her strongest) are confused and cope as best they can. Her mother (a droll Frances Sternhagen) drives her car into a tree. Neighbors Becca (Heidi Schreck) and Danny (Christopher Evan Welch) try to help, but fail. Then Martha shows up at the Starbucks where Sarah works, and Sarah soon starts seeing her on the sly at her sparsely furnished apartment in a building called The Madrid.

Unfortunately, we never get even a whiff of what motivated Martha to fly the coop or, for that matter, who she is. Not that we need to see a blueprint – a little mystery is fine. But we should have some idea of what makes her tick. Her underwritten character seems like an afterthought, which is especially bizarre since the other characters are so well-developed. We keep waiting for a revelation, but it never comes — and its absence leaves the entire production hanging, its potential unrealized.

If you go

‘The Madrid’
New York City Center, Stage I,
131 West 55th St.
$85, www.nycitycenter.org.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

US military tried, but failed to rescue journalist…

The U.S. military earlier this year tried to rescue journalist James Foley and other American hostages held in Syria ,but failed to find the captives.

National

Fate of captured beluga whales in hands of…

A Georgia aquarium went to court on Wednesday seeking federal permission to bring 18 captured beluga whales to the United States from Russia.

Local

After Eric Garner death, religious leaders meet to…

Interfaith leaders convened with city officials to discuss what the community can do to help dial down heightened tensions after Eric Garner's death.

Local

'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.

Television

'Doctor Who' personality profile: the 4 Doctors

When the time comes for a new Doctor, there's always some anxiety over the big question: Who will he be? The series owes its longevity…

Television

Billy Crystal to commemorate late actor Robin Williams…

  Comedian Billy Crystal will pay tribute to late actor Robin Williams at television's Primetime Emmy Awards on Aug. 25, the show's organizers said on…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

GAMES Hudson Common Open Aug. 21, 7 p.m. Hudson Common 356 W. 58 St. Free, www.hudsoncommonnyc.com The U.S. Open begins on Monday, but most of…

Movies

Review: Sadly, Matthew Weiner's 'Are You Here' is…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner tries his hand at movies with "Are You Here," a misjudged Owen Wilson-Zach Galifianakis comedy that turns into a drama.

NFL

Jalen Saunders still unsure what caused car accident…

Jets rookie wide receiver Jalen Saunders spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time since his car accident, but he didn't say a whole lot.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Wellbeing

Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…

Wellbeing

Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…