NY Theater Review Sandi Durell
If it’s spy thrillers you’re after, you might get some small chills and thrills watching Mac Rogers’ ‘Asymmetric’ at 59e59 Theaters in Theater C directed by Jordanna Williams. It seems that ex-CIA agent Sunny Black (Kate Middleton) has set the standard as super spy and figuring out the best use for drones (maybe even those that you can buy on Amazon).
When we meet her, she’s under interrogation by her old boss Zach (Seth Shelden) who’s made no headway and calls in Ford (Rob Maitner), adept at using pliers, digit by digit, to unearth the truth from this female killer who has passed stolen classified information to the enemies. Ouch! But she can sure take it while her alcoholic ex-husband Josh Ruskin (Sean Williams) is waiting in the wings as savior who will wrench the truth from Sunny. It’s a tale of love, treason, revenge and drones!
Not only was Josh married to Sunny but he, too, is an ex-agent who ran The Fifth Floor (hmmm, sounds scary), that secret of all secret units. Instead, he spends more time despondent over why she left him as their marriage history is revealed, and they do throw in a fair amount of technical spy lingo about ‘asymmetric warfare.’
If it weren’t for the comedy quips that keep cropping up, we might take this situation a lot more seriously, but maybe Obama’s photo looking down on them has something to do with that. Although Middleton looks too sweet to be a killer, she turns in a poignant and believable performance as someone ready to do whatever it takes to serve her country, as does Williams as the needy ex. Shelden needs more oomph and Maitner is more of a caricature as an emotionless hatchet man.
Each time something builds to a threshold, a funny line is thrown in to break the spell. Maybe it’s just as Rogers intended it . . . making fun of the missteps and bloopers we hear, all to often, in the FBI and the CIA.
The small space is put together as a barebones office – desk, chair – that converts easily in a later scene. (Travis McHale set design) as the audience gets a birds-eye view seated on two adjoining sides.
Asymmetric, 59e59Theaters runs thru December 6th – 212 753-5959 www.59e59.org