Off Broadway (and sometimes Broadway) Reviews and Information.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Power Dynamics Laid Bare(foot)

Barefoot is an interesting new play at the the Gene Frankel Theater. As a new show, it has a few teething
problems, but it is generally great entertainment. Clocking in at a brisk pace with no intermission,
Barefoot grabs the viewer right off and propels you through the evening.

It is basically the story of Sylvia, on the cusp of marriage and a fiance that cheated on her. Sylvia
(Kate T. Billingsly) is a successful psychiatrist from Connecticut living in a high end New York
apartment. Her life has generally be very successful. But her world is skewed by the realization
that her fiance, Robert (Judah Tobais) has cheated on her with Teddy, a rather stunning blond
with a damaged psyche. Teddy is excellently by Elissa Klie. The most engaging moments of the
show happen in the first half with the interaction between Teddy and Sylvia. Sylvia’s tough veneer
is stripped raw by Teddy’s confidence and Sylvia’ insecurities. More than that, the two women find
both camaraderie and betrayal in the details of Teddy and Robert’s story.

Elissa Klie, Judah Tobias, Kate T. Billingsley and Will Rosenfelt in Barefoot
Robert played the part of confidant and pursuer in the relationship, but Teddy was aware he was
engaged before these two had sex, and so she was complicit in the betrayal of Sylvia.

While the two women argue and bond, Robert and Marc, Teddy’s fiance, arrive. Robert is apologetic,
while Marc (Will Rosenfelt) is aggressively angry and unapologetic. These two characters are a bit u
nderdrawn, both are caricatures of the duality of male role models, wimp and bully. Ordering a pizza,
a bisexual pizza boy, Chet (Tent Cox), enters the mix to question the sexuality of Robert / the wimp.

The odd personal dynamics of the foursome is reigned back in when Teddy and Sylvia assert control
and the men are kicked out of the apartment.

Directed by Thomas C Waites, Barefoot moves well and brings both laughter and tension easily.
The show would benefit from some tightening and maybe less stereotypical behavior. There are
many moments that felt very honest and real, and some other moments that seem forced. The
acting is generally very good, with excellent turns by the women, who were giving more range to
work with.

Barefoot is a nice little show in an intimate space. The more often it is presented, I have a feeling the better it
will be. It’s limited run allowed few previews. I enjoyed it when it was great, and wanted it to be stronger
where it faltered. Rooting for a show is a sign of involvement and a key to success. You should see it,
it is a great value, and we will be hearing more from this writer in the future.

Barefoot | Playwright: Kate T. Billingsley & Thomas G. Waites, Director: Thomas C. Waites | Cast: Kate T. Billinsgley, Elissa Klie, Judah Barak Tobias, Will Rosefelt, Trent Cox