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Theatre Review by Matthew Murray

On the stage right side of the stage at the Producers Club II, where Lexy just opened, there is a chalkboard hanging on the wall, bearing the words, "The unexamined life is not worth living." Attributed to Plato, the quote has much to say about the play itself.

Practically every character in the play goes to great - at times, almost absurd - lengths to make sure that not only are their own lives worth living, but so are the lives of everyone else.

The title character, played by Jami Coogan, is a therapist about to break up with her girlfriend of seven years, Miriam (Guenia Lemos), who is the only one of the two of them that wants a baby. It's not long after, though, that Lexy passionately kisses Adam Potter (Michael Ciminera), who just walks into her apartment. Love at first sight? No, they knew each other in high school, but she doesn't really remember him.

Meanwhile, Lexy's friend Jag (Deborah Aaronson), who teaches at the same school Adam does, encourages Lexy to take on the treatment of Adam's troubled student, Scott (Art Goyette). He was once an exemplary student, but has grown more and more despondent and disinterested of late. The rest of the play is built around their therapy sessions and the secrets uncovered, but by now, Lexy is only about halfway through the first of its two acts!

The play's author, Frank J. Avella, has instituted a certain fluidity of plot and character into Lexy - you can never be sure of anything you see or hear. Jag, as but one example, a professed lesbian herself, has a crush on Adam that sets most of the play into motion. Nothing the characters do or say can ever really be taken at face value, and when you can't trust anyone, it's hard to root for anyone.

Because of this, and the abundance of story (told in much the same way), Lexy ends up being rather boring, nearly two and a half hours of deception, secrets, and confusion without a satisfying resolution. The play's final moment is more a stopping place than an ending, at first seeming like only a temporary respite from the plotty madness. In fact, given Avella's tendency here to extend scenes here beyond their useful or entertaining lifetime, there's no reason to believe the show is over until the curtain call starts; that so much happens throughout and so little happens at the end is an unsettling and ineffective choice.

Avella achieves slightly more as director of the production, tweaking his script visually in ways it's easy to wish he would have done with the writing. In one scene, Jag moves instantaneously between Kristine-Elan Caplinger's two sets, one Lexy's living room and the other Adam's office. The moment works, punctuated by Jag's rather amusing clumsiness, but other than solving a staging dilemma Avella himself created, it doesn't seem to belong in the play.

But then again, not much about Lexy does; the performances and the dialogue all seem other-worldly, at times thesaurus-generated, not completely false but in no way real. That, combined with some of the show's other attempts at humor (including a gynecologist (played by Jeanine Tolve) composing a musical about vaginas) makes it all the harder to take Lexy's meandering plot seriously.

If Avella, as his script vaguely suggests, has serious and profound points to make about youth, memory, and right and wrong, they're hopelessly lost in Lexy.


Through March 24
The Producers Club II, 9th avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets
Tickets: SmartTix at (212) 206-1515
Running Time: Approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes with one intermission
Lexy Website

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