Nothing Gold Can Stay

Addiction awaits in the depths of Hell's Kitchen. Should you dare to take the plunge?

By Andrew Andrews

Susan (Mary Bacon) answers the door to find her drug-addicted son Clay (Micheál Richardson)and his junkie girlfriend Jess (Talene Monahon) begging for help in Partial Comfort Productions’ Nothing Gold Can Stay at ART/NY’s Jeffrey and Paula Gural Theatre. Original photo by Spencer Moses.

Clay and Jess have graduated high school, and it’s time to leave for freshman year at college. Problem is, Jess didn’t complete her application in time, so she stays behind working a dead-end job in their dead-end town.

Fortunately, Clay’s mother Susan has taken Jess under wing to escape Jess’s own mother’s abusive boyfriend. But Jess’s loneliness, boredom and frustration lead her to an Oxy addiction, causing one problem after another for Clay, Susan and her thick-skinned daughter Tanya, and Jess’s nice-guy brother Jamie.

This is one of those productions where everything has been done right: from the script itself to the direction, from the casting to the acting, from the lighting to the sound and the costumes to the set.

Coming from a small town myself where I’ve witnessed similar problems, I could really appreciate the desolation of the situation, while at the same time recognizing Jess’s own responsibility for what has happened. This is as much an exposé of the costs and benefits of different approaches to parenting as it is about drug addiction, and the comic relief rides the back of the predicament like a handful of gummy bears scattered across a bed of razors.

Reminding me a lot of Wrong House Productions’ 36 Juniper last year, Partial Comfort’s Nothing Gold Can Stay is similarly worthy of a much longer run on a much larger stage. But don’t wait, because the intimate Gural Theatre gets you closer to the drama at a price that won’t have you stealing from your mother’s wallet or hocking you’re grandmother’s old sewing machine!


Andrew Andrews attended Nothing Gold Can Stay at A.R.T./New York Theatres Gural Theatre in Manhattan on Thursday, October 3, 2019 @ 8:00pm to write this review.