Whitney Harris, Roxanna Kadyrova and Stacey Weckstein star in Sly Fennec Productions’s Chatter by Sam Kahn at The Tank in Midtown West. Original photo by Lucia Buricelli.

By Andrew Andrews

Maybe I should just jump right in and tell you why this is a five-star show: it’s rare to come across a work that is so experimental and yet so completely engrossing at the same time. Too often in theater you either get one or the other: a show that ignores traditional storytelling so it can play with the boundaries of live theater, or a show that’s so formulaic that it doesn’t give us anything new at all. Sam Kahn’s Chatter, however, is a traditional story, untraditionally told. In the beginning, it’s paced like you’re watching a black box portrayal of the Gilmore Girls; however, it’s not about a mother and daughter in a small town, but a twenty-something Québécoise (with an Eastern Bloc accent) named Claire (Roxanna Kadyrova) moving to New York City. Overall, it’s a lot like watching a reading where the actors actually bothered to memorize the lines (until they give you the illusion that they didn’t)… but it’s not a reading at all. And a couple of times it feels like you’re watching a dress rehearsal (complete with interruptions!)… but that’s just an illusion as well. At various times there are novel uses of projected backdrops, explorations of multiple deliveries of the same lines, and so much subtle, effective metaphor that you can swim in it.

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Andrew Andrews attended Chatter at The Tank in New York on Saturday, July 7, 2018 @ 12:34pm to write this review.

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