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Buffalo, NY, USA

  • Anthony Chase

Navigators -- intrigue and persuasion at Alleyway

REVIEW by ANTHONY CHASE

In Navigators, Gordon Farrell’s new play at the Alleyway, the matriarch of a prominent political family has died, and as the drama begins, it is apparent that her son E.J. has just spoken something profoundly inappropriate at her private memorial – the truth.


In Navigators, as in his previous play Lifespan of a Fact, co-written with Jeremy Kareken & David Murrell, the nature of truth is central to the action. Lifespan of a Fact played on Broadway with Daniel Radcliffe, Cherry Jones, and Bobby Cannavale, making Farrell’s playwriting residency at Alleyway rather exciting.


In Navigators, each of the three characters holds pieces of truth, typically obtained or kept secret through dubious means, and each person wants something. The plot revolves around who has the best leverage to get what he or she wants – and nothing is off the table. Overheard conversations, revealing documents, secret romances – all the stuff of melodrama – play a cozy roll in this un-melodramatic play.


Keeping the balls of truth and concealment juggling are an able cast of Chris J. Handley and Sandra Roberts as brother and sister, and Tom Owen as, let me just say family friend.


The play is economically told on a clever set by Neal Radice, which could have used a couple of well-timed sound effects to disguise its mechanics while a boat is whooshing to and from a dock on the water. Simon and Garfunkel music plays a heavy hand here in a way that seems more personal than dramatically viable, but the dialogue is uniformly engaging as this play briskly maneuvers its way through a night of intrigue and persuasion.


The production continues through October 5th.