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Waiting till ‘Noon’

Neil LaBute, master of the second act bombshell in provocative plays like “The Shape of Things,” ends his latest, “The Break of Noon” at the Lucille Lortel, with a whimper rather than a bang.

Talk about anticlimactic.

Neil LaBute, master of the second act bombshell in provocative plays like “The Shape of Things,” ends his latest, “The Break of Noon” at the Lucille Lortel, with a whimper rather than a bang. In the final scene, John (David Duchovny), the sole survivor of a brutal office massacre who thinks God not only spared but also spoke to him, bares his soul to his “flock.” But what he reveals merely expands upon what we already know. It barely raises an eyebrow.

“Noon” is episodic. Bookended by John’s addressing the audience, it otherwise consists of his one-on-one encounters with each of the following: his lawyer, a policeman (both played by John Earl Jelks), his ex-wife, his former mistress (both Amanda Peet), a talk-show host and a prostitute (both Tracee Chimo).

Exchanges are generally tight, even compelling, and occasionally funny, with Chimo getting both the strongest (her acidic interviewer is a gas) and weakest (the whorehouse interaction rings false). Acting is solid all round.

But there’s no build and little connection between scenes. Each seems to exist independently.

We accumulate information about John, including that he took a photograph (which he sells for a fortune) in the midst of all the carnage, but he remains an enigma. There’s no dramatic arc and no “a-ha” moment. Perhaps he’s moved closer to the truth, perhaps not, but either way his progress is barely perceptible.

 
 
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