Negative Is Positive at Theatre For The New City Theatre Review by Alex Montaldo
I usually don’t judge a show by it’s opening night, especially when one of the actors has quit two days before. So I went to see ‘Negative is Positive’ ready to witness an understandably flawed production.
Boy oh boy, was I wrong! This play is wonderfully written and flows in such a way that you never get bored or distracted.
‘Negative is Positive’ centers on a young interracial, married couple. They seem to be living a good life, moving forward in their careers and supporting each other unconditionally, until something tragic happens and brutally lifts the lid on these normal people’s Pandora’s Box. Christy Smith Loman managed to hit all the right notes and combined them in a very dynamic and exiting piece that shows us how, just like the characters in the play, we are all compromised and corrupted by our weaknesses and insecurities. Although it sheds light on some of the least admirable aspects of human nature, the play has a positive vibe to it and never gets dark for the sake of being dark. On the contrary, the writer’s humorous approach to some pretty heavy situations, makes the story easy to follow and its ugly reality acceptable to the eye of the spectator.
Andreas Robertz (director) did an amazing job letting the dialogue take over the action only when absolutely necessary and the blocking was impeccable. The actors pulled off performances so flawless one would expect to see towards the second half of the run. The female lead, Karen Eilbacher, did an excellent job and kept the energy level up throughout the play. She gave her character a very strong presence, made even stronger by her emotional range and ability to let the events in the play lead her actions and not the other way around. I was very impressed by Joshua Zirger, the male lead, who in my opinion had the hardest role to play in ‘Negative is Positive’. It’s much easier for an actor to play characters who are ‘loud’ and emotional, but it’s really tricky to play a character like David, who’s soft spoken and rational, but is going through and incredible emotional turmoil. Well, Joshua Zirger couldn’t have done a better job. Watching the events unfold on stage, I was captured by his contained energy and ability to carry the action in a very elegant, unassuming fashion.
David M. Farrington as George and Vivienne Jurado as Brianna were a delight to watch and managed to find the perfect way to portray stereotypes without becoming caricatures. Their chemistry was impeccable and so was their ability to own the space every time they were on stage. David Farrington also deserves extra-credit for having jumped onboard only two days before opening night. Last but not least, my appreciation goes to Fulton C. Hodges, who played a funny dentist who’s actually barer of the tragic news that the entire play revolves around.
‘Negative is Positive’ is definitely a play worth of a Broadway stage, and matter of fact… I strongly believe it should be produced on Broadway as soon as yesterday! ‘Negative is Positive’ is one of the best new plays I’ve seen in the last 5 years.
photos by Magali Charron