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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Review: Red Light Winter

Posted By on Wed, Jul 11, 2012 at 1:19 PM


“Adult” is an odd euphemism for X-rated content. Red Light Winter, presented by Broken Glass at the Shadowbox Theatre, is adult in all senses of the word. It is shockingly graphic, but a few factors balance the nudity, sex and coarse language.

Adam Rapp’s 2006 Pulitzer Prize finalist has a twisted plot with complex psychological overtones. The shock value is tamed a little more by the remarkable poise of Nicole Rae, who disrobes completely and engages in starkly sexual scenes. But she puts the audience at ease — even though the theater is so small, audience members can almost touch the actors.

I have reservations about the script, but I offer a tip of my hat to director Harold Gervais, who put together an excellent cast and keeps them focused.

Matt (Richard Mayer) and Davis (Matt Story) are 20-something buddies who go to Amsterdam, Netherlands to indulge in its exotic but legal treats, mostly drugs. They are opposites: Matt is “quiet and nerdy,” and Davis is “dickish and macho.”

The friends were two sides of a love triangle. The woman started with Matt and ended up with Davis, and this is a sore point between them. The overly sensitive Matt hasn’t slept with a woman in the three years since. Davis goes out and recruits a prostitute, Christina (Rae), who has a charming self-contained manner, and offers her as a gift to Matt, who is smitten at first sight. But the love triangle problem repeats itself. Christina goes wild for Davis, claiming she loves having sex with him. Poor Matt becomes nervous and hardly knows what to do when she approaches him.

Mayer’s nerd was believably torn by his unrequited love for Christina. Rae not only carries the difficult moments of nudity and sex with aplomb, she creates a character who interacts believably with the others. Story gives us a villainous yuppie, although he is more buffoonish than charismatic.

The nudity, sex and lingo are all shocking. The plot is twisted, and the effect is like a fireworks display. You watch amazed, but don't take away much to think about. Still, Broken Glass Productions offers an impressive cutting-edge drama.

Red Light Winter
8 p.m. Thu.-Sat.; 2 p.m. Sun.
Shadowbox Theatre, 2400 St. Claude Ave., 298-8676

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