This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001



Louis Nowra’s COSÌ examines love and madness in the theater in wacky ways (photo by Samir Abady)

Urban Stages
259 West 30th St. between Seventh & Eighth Aves.
Through September 23, $!8

For its inaugural production, Australian Made Entertainment, a New York City-based organization founded by husband-and-wife performers Kathleen and Matthew Foster to promote Australian plays in the United States, has chosen both carefully and wisely: award-winning playwright Louis Nowra’s semiautobiographical 1992 work Così, a very funny examination of theater, madness, love, and the fine line between illusion and reality. Adam Zivkovic stars as Lewis, a recent theater graduate who has accepted a job directing a show in a Melbourne asylum, where it’s hoped that the patients will come out of their shells by participating. While his girlfriend, Lucy (Olivia Etzine), and best friend, Nick (Zach Bubolo), think he’s crazy for taking on such a job and instead devote their time preparing for a professional production of Brecht’s Galileo and joining the growing Australian ant-Vietnam War movement, Lewis immerses himself in the trials and tribulations of a wacky band of characters, consisting of manic-depressive wannabe opera star Roy (Matthew Foster), OCD-riddled Ruth (Laura Iris Hill), sex-obsessed Cherry (Annie Worden), pyromaniac Doug (Clint Zugel), silent lawyer Henry (Stuart Williams), medicine-dependent piano player Zac (Duke Anderson), and drug addict Julie (Kathleen Foster). Even though none of them can sing or knows Italian, Roy insists they put on Mozart’s Così fan tutte, and mad hijinks ensue as they prepare for opening night. Christopher Thompson’s dank, gray set wonderfully equates the stage with a room in a mental ward, as if the two are one and the same. Matthew Foster is loud and boisterous as Roy, celebrating the myriad possibilities that theater can offer, while the rest of the cast offers more subtle support, particularly Zugel as Doug, who threatens danger at every turn, and Worden as Cherry, who nearly steals the show with hysterical herky-jerky movements and riotous little tics. Fluidly directed by Jesse Michael Mothershed without getting heavy-handed, Così — which was also made into a 1996 film starring Toni Collette, Colin Friels, Rachel Griffiths, and Colin Hay — is a delightful beginning to the Fosters’ new company. The two-hour play, which has general admission seating, runs through September 23 at Urban Stages; be sure to stop by the concession table, where you can pick up such Australian treats as Dub Pies and salted caramel bites to further the Down Under experience.

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  1. WE thoroughly enjoyed the play and wish you all the best in your future endeavors. Got this review from your Mom. Was great to see her and the show. Keep us posted Joan and Bernie Hulkower

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