There is a special brand of fear and loathing that comes hand-in-hand with post-collegiate life, and it sits plainly at the center of this dramedy by Evan Sanderson. 20 Somethings is a look at love, loss, and the games we play through the eyes of Millennials.
We meet central couple Reese (Marie Pollizano) and James (Benjamin Drew Thompson) in a split-screen portrait of their lonely evenings at home. From a chance meeting at bar trivia to a rock-em-sock-em double date, we watch their relationship bloom, falter, and get covered in rainbow vomit. It’s a sweet story and the chemistry between Thompson and Pollizano is enjoyable, but as their burgeoning love becomes complicated by requisite familial baggage, the story is pulled towards the line of cliche.
What saves it, however, is Sanderson’s stellar cast of supporting characters. Loony and heartwarming, the neighbors and friends that surround Resse and James make their story seem more authentic, less forced. Sanderson has given us a cross-section of personalities without succumbing to stereotypes, and he should be commended. Maggie Cummings and Maddie Provo are hysterical as a wackadoo set of red-headed twins, bookish academics trapped in hot girl bodies. As a hard-partying couple looking to settle down, Viet Vo and Kathleen Choe give a glimpse into the complications of choosing commitment; their I Dos and tequila shots going hand-in-hand. Vishal Vaidya is adorable as the geeky biochemist Suresh who pines for lab partner Emily (Giselle Gastell) while wrestling with the arranged marriage awaiting him in India. Vaidya is restrained and charming in his awkwardness until he makes the easiest move of the play: talking about his feelings with the right person.
It prompts the audience to expect the same candidness of the two leads. And why not? When you have been treated to the innermost workings of a character’s relationship hangups, it’s hard to not want to play puppet-master, get everyone together in a room, and work it out before someone else throws a fit in a wine bar.
Sanderson does a wonderful job of exhibiting a variety of twenty-something relationships, and his quippy humor makes for an enjoyable piece. But he almost makes it too easy on his lead characters by giving them something specific to hang their commitment-phobic hats on. Oddly, there is no talk of the future by our lovers, no discussion of jobs or money or many of the things that make ones twenties so uniquely terrifying. Reese and James are more products of their personal traumas than their generation.
By giving us such a broad spectrum of quarter-life craziness, however, Sanderson paints a solid portrayal of the cloudy nature of relationships, and how they tend to be more chaotic than a round of Halo.
Writer: Evan Sanderson
Director: Ameneh Bordi
These friends zip through city life. James is too quirky for his own good. Suresh has fallen for his lab partner. And Reese just wants more. Their lives collide as they discover that love isn’t a game…or is it ??
1h 35m Local New York, New York
Staycation: My NYC Story Ride the Rollercoaster of Love
VENUE #14: New Ohio Theatre
Sat 18 @ 2:45* Tue 21 @ 4:15 Thu 23 @ 10:45 Sat 25 @ 12 Sat 25 @ 9:45