Reviews: Leaf in the Mailbox


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A Montreal Fringe award winner from a young company called Untimely Ripped, Leaf in the Mailbox is a humorous, surprising tale about the elusive nature of things like young love and respect. The script, rich in dialogue, is appealing. Ernest (Elan Zafir, also the playwright) lives with his aging Bubby (Amy Marvaso, heard but not seen), has a smug, spoiled girlfriend, Allison (Amy Noël) and a pot-smoking, backgammon-playing, internet matchmaking (and Penelope Cruz)-obsessed buddy, Brandon (Andrew Farrar, also the director). A new neighbor girl, Sally (Larah Bross), appears, and befriends his Bubby, coming over often to play the piano for her. Ernest also has a recurring dream, and a particularly unpleasant memory, both of which have to do with playing the piano. The staging may be a bit clumsy, and the play may have a few weak spots (to name a couple, a parlor game the four onstage actors play doesn’t make a lot of sense, and neither does that leaf in the mailbox — Sally put it there), but it’s a strong entry that reveals quite a bit of talent. Performances are solid, Zafir’s warmly inccocent one especially so, and the production makes good and clever use of a wide variety of music. At Experimental Theater at Henry Street Settlement, 466 Grand Street (@ Pitt). 1 hour. [Gutman]
[N.B. The Henry Street Settlement may seem at the fringe of the Fringe, but it’s quite accessible — a few blocks walk from the F train at either Delancey/Essex or East Broadway. For those desiring less exercise, the 14th Street bus (M14) passes directly in front of the complex.]

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Elan Zafir’s misemployment of the run-on sentence

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