In lesser hands, "Time Stands Still" could easily land in the ever-growing abyss of forgettable relationship plays featuring four New Yorkers of varying degrees of likeability navigating their narcissistic ways through life's ups and downs.
Fortunately, Lyric Stage Company had the good sense to enlist the directorial vision of Scott Edmiston, who circumvents most of the story's cliches and predictability to deliver an impressive production of a rather mediocre play.
Every facet of this flawlessly executed piece, from Janie Howland's stellar set to the superb performances of a talented ensemble, collaborates to create an incredibly authentic feeling. There are many times you'll swear you're sitting in a cluttered artist's loft in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, watching worlds collide, relationships implode and life -- despite their best efforts to capture it all in still frames -- move forward.
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Erica Spyres shines as Mandy, the youngest member of the group and the only one who hasn't been beaten down by life as a journalist. Spyres superbly transitions Mandy from ditz with a hint of gold-digger into warm, likable optimist.
Though Laura Latreille's Sarah is significantly more complex, her delivery is loud, angry and aggressive. Latreille teeters masterfully near the edge of over-the-top while nicely revealing a hint of humanity just below the surface of Sarah's bitterness and isolation.
Barlow Adamson is perfect as Sarah's defeated, post-breakdown significant other James. He nicely captures both the exhausting essence of trying to make this relationship work and the light and relief of his final resignation.
Jeremiah Kissel makes it look easy as a middle-aged man with a hot, young girlfriend. But it's his subtle metamorphosis into loving, doting husband that will most impress you.