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Old, Borrowed and Blue

Theatre Review by Matthew Murray

As you may infer from the title, Old, Borrowed and Blue is a story about marriage. A one-woman show written by Cara Worth in collaboration with Stephen Waldrup and starring Worth herself, the show takes a look at one woman's life when her life goes awry after her marriage falls apart.

Ana had been married to Mike for three years before things turned sour, and she appears for the first time after having returned from Mike's apartment bearing a load of her possessions. The play occurs as she tries to sort out her things and her life.

Worth is immensely likable from the moment she appears onstage. Her Ana seems troubled and needy from the outset, yet also has an inner strength that shines through and seems to create the other characters she will eventually portray. A woman she met at a bridal shower a few years earlier, her former mother-in-law, and a friend of her husband all make an appearance. They are all shades of Ana herself and come directly from her within the context of the story.

While this is expected, because the characters do not exist in the present with Ana, there are a number of difficulties in telling the story. Most of Ana's real dialogue is spoken to the cat she liberated from her husband's apartment. While this occasionally works, it often seems like the cat was more of a device to allow Ana - and Worth - her expression rather than a real sounding board for Ana's fears and pain. An hilarious telephone call early in the play is far more successful, despite being a similarly one-sided conversation.

Waldrup also directed the piece, and creates a few nice moments, including some excellent use of music, and a charming scene with Ana's bridal veil near the end of the show. The direction in some of the flashbacks is more stale, however, bringing forth few new ideas. The connection of the flashbacks to Ana's immediate story - especially in the one having to do with her husband's friend, Joe - is also not as strong as it could be.

Though Ana and Mike's marriage may have failed, Worth and Waldrup's collaboration makes the show cohesive and entertaining throughout. In the end, Old, Borrowed and Blue may not have a lot to say about marriage, but it speaks volumes about the power of collaboration. In the theatre, that is every bit as important a lesson.

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Westside Dance Project
Old, Borrowed and Blue
By Cara Worth in collaboration with Stephen Waldrup
Midtown International Theater Festival
Through July 22
The New 42nd Street Theatre, 348 West 42nd Street between 8th and 9th Avenues
Tickets $15 per show / Festival Pass $99
Festival Schedule and Tickets: Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200