- Last Updated: 8:13 PM, June 14, 2012
- Posted: 10:51 PM, June 13, 2012
59E59 Theaters, 59 E. 59th St.; 212-279-4200. Through July 1.
Abi Morgan is hot right now. Last year alone, this Englishwoman wrote the high-profile movies “Shame” and “The Iron Lady” and created the critically acclaimed miniseries “The Hour” for the BBC.
But Morgan actually started as a playwright, back in 1998. Not that New Yorkers knew about her: Only “The Great Game: Afghanistan” made it here, in 2010 — and Morgan was just one of a dozen contributors to that sprawling anthology of short pieces.
Now we finally get to see an actual full-length play, 2001’s “Tiny Dynamite.” But the show mostly seems like the youthful effort of a gifted author scrambling for a voice.
Morgan certainly didn’t pick an easy path, describing a triangular relationship in a willfully elliptical way — made worse by Matt Torney’s staging, which is overly dramatic and fuzzy at the same time.
Two points of that triangle are the preppy, responsible Lucien (Christian Conn) and Anthony (Blake DeLong), an overgrown puppy in denim cutoffs. Now in their mid-20s, these childhood friends have rented a lakeside cottage for their annual summer vacation together.
They befriend a local girl, Madeleine (Olivia Horton), but she’s more like a stand-in for a mysterious love the two men once shared. As Lucien and Anthony’s summer of reckoning goes by, along with the 80-minute play, we learn that they were shaped by a past drama. There’s always one of those lurking somewhere.
There are times when “Tiny Dynamite” turns spooky, as when the friends wonder who moves their things at night.
But the show never connects the dots. Anthony is ominously described as being mentally ill, yet he comes across as an eccentric slacker — DeLong, who recalls a young Noah Wyle, is affecting but lacks the required unsettling intensity.
In any case, it’s unclear why Lucien — who bitterly remarks that “being crazy is easy” — continues to saddle himself with the high-maintenance Anthony.
Throughout, Morgan peppers the show with a series of lengthy anecdotes about freak accidents — Lucien works in risk assessment, and believes in cause and effect, no matter how far-fetched the effect is. It’s a heavy-handed approach and still doesn’t make a point.