Theater Review: 'Really Really' -- 3 stars

Lauren Culpepper, left, and Zosia Mamet, in "Really

Lauren Culpepper, left, and Zosia Mamet, in "Really Really" (Credit: Lauren Culpepper, left, and Zosia Mamet, in "Really Really")

Really Really
3 stars

"Really Really," the debut play from 27-year-old actor Paul Downs Colaizzo, is contrived, plot-heavy and didactic.

But it also offers absolutely provocative, urgent and vigorous drama.
This is the kind of play that will stick with you for days, requiring you to analyze every scene.

It also has the potential to appeal to a young audience of theatergoers in light of both its aesthetic and subject matter.

At first, it appears to be a benign portrait of students at an unnamed college, following a blowout party where Davis (Matt Lauria) hooked up with Leigh (Zosia Mamet), whose overprotective boyfriend Jimmy (Evan Jonigkeit) happened to be away on a family vacation.

But strange details creep up. Why is Leigh's shirt stained with blood? Is she really pregnant, as she had led Jimmy to believe? And when Jimmy learns of her indiscretion, she alleges that Davis raped her, even though she allegedly has a crush on Davis (who seems like a pretty nice guy).

It also appears that Leigh grew up in poverty, a fact made clear by the arrival of her proudly white-trash sister Haley (Aleque Reid), while both Davis and Jimmy are obviously wealthy.

This is clearly the work of someone very well-versed in contemporary drama, displaying the influences of Neil LaBute's macho dialogue, the guessing game aesthetic of John Patrick Shanley's "Doubt" and the animalistic conclusion of David Mamet's "Oleanna."

Colaizzo wishes to expose a generation of young Americans weaned on Internet-ready devices who are too busy texting, getting drunk and worrying about their own interests to care much about anything else.

David Comer, who directed the exemplary Off-Broadway revival of "Our Town," provides an engrossing staging with a strong cast that more than captures the play's enigmatic qualities and its obsession with ruthless behavior.


If you go: "Really Really" plays at the Lucille Lortel Theatre through March 10. 121 Christopher St., mcctheater.org.

Tags: ENTERTAINMENT

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