So, with a title like Money Grubbin’ Whores, I had to review this play for RomanceBeat, but in all honesty, I had no idea idea what to expect. I only hoped it would be funny and not too offensive. But it proved to be much more than that.
The one act play opens on the backroom of pizzeria, that looks like every restaurant backroom in NYC. Matt, a self-employed plumber, who is being sued for divorce, and his childhood pal Frankie, a contractor who considers himself a “deal-closer,” are waiting for the soon-to-be Israeli ex-wife Aviva and her cousin, Moshe, to meet and discuss the dissolution of the marriage without lawyers. We learn that Matt and Aviva have a three year-old daughter Erin, that Matt and Aviva were once very much in love, and that Matt is angry and afraid that Aviva will rip his heart and balls out and leave him penniless. Matt’s laments go on for so long, that you briefly wonder if this is someone’s idea of working class Waiting for Godot (which is my only criticism of the play), but then Aviva and Moshe arrive, and emotional hell breaks loose as we hear the couple tell their sides of the story. Your heart breaks as you hear the sadly familiar story of people who feel they gave up everything for each other and have nothing left.
And as Moshe and Frankie go outside to smoke some pineapple crush, Aviva and Matt hide in the closet and silently bond, finally understanding each other, and leaving you wondering if they are going to try again, or learn from their mistakes.
A pretty powerful play that makes you feel like you’re in a sit-com until you’re not.
Great cast, terrific simple set design.
This is the kind of play you can take a man to who says he doesn’t like theater. He’ll get it.
Money Grubbin’ Whores runs through October 19th at The Lion Theater, a charming Off-broadway theater, of about 100 seats. Tickets are $50.