The Itch

New Ohio Theatre, Manhattan

By Andrew Andrews

The New Ohio Theatre is no stranger to alternative and innovative performances—in fact, you might say it’s home for them. Take, for example, the New York Indie Theatre One Minute Play Festival that we reviewed six months ago: sixty minutes of fast-paced, cutting edge performances crammed together like Yankees fans on the 4 train after the end of a winning game. And their latest full-length offering, Throes Theater’s The Itch, might not be as crowded but it’s a lot more edgy, exploring family dynamics and the “special” relationship between twins. Starring Gore Abrams (Simon) and Alexandra Zelman-Doring (Ana) as siblings with a connection that’s as unsettling as their strangely-similar personalities, this thought-provoking story (written by Zelman-Doring and directed by Theresa Buchheister) takes the dysfunctional family to extremes we haven’t seen since the likes of Home for the Holidays.

Simon is the brother struggling with dependency. Ana is the sister who’d do anything to save him—and yes, we really do mean anything. Jordan (Eric LaPointe) is the boyfriend who got himself more than he bargained for, and Libby (Coco Conroy) is the unfortunate stranger who never saw it coming. Add to the mix a father (Dan Berkey) and mother (Rae C. Wright) so distant that they can only be portrayed by a glitchy video loop and announcements over the P.A. System, and a grandmother (Lonely Christopher) so self-absorbed that we only experience her through the needy voice mail messages she leaves for Simon, and you’ll find a situation that might just make you look forward to seeing your comparably-normal family this Thanksgiving.

If it sounds like this isn’t exactly the feel-good story of the summer, then you get the point: it’s not the place to bring the kids for a taste of cutting-edge theater. But if you’re looking for a play that isn’t afraid to take what most people consider taboo and insist that you look the demon in its eyes, then this is a story for you. So check it out, and tell us what you think. Whether you find it wholly stimulating or it isn’t your kind of therapy, your reviews help others decide whether to attend, and your ratings help us help you find other performances you’re sure to love!

Andrew Andrews attended The Itch at New Ohio Theatre in Manhattan on Saturday, September 9, 2017 @ 6:00pm to write this review.