Sas Goldberg, Gideon Glick, and Rebecca Naomi
Jones photos by Joan Marcus
By Ron Cohen
twenty-nine years old and no one has ever told me they love me. That’s like a
problem, isn’t it?” says Jordan Berman, the hero of Joshua Harmon’s
angst-ridden comedy, Significant Other, which has come to Broadway after
an acclaimed Off-Broadway run at the Roundabout Theatre Company.
Jordan has other problems as well. His three
closest friends, Kiki, Vanessa and Laura, are one by one getting married,
leaving him, a hapless gay guy, alone to brood over his encroaching loneliness.
And boy, does he brood, to the very end of the play when he’s holding back a
torrent of tears at the wedding of Laura, the last of the three gal pals to
marry and the very best of his best friends.
: Gideon Glick, Rebecca Naomi Jones and Lindsay
It’s an orgy
of self-pity that somehow is made breezily entertaining through Harmon’s smart,
laugh-provoking dialogue and the fluid direction of Trip Cullman. Also helping
quite a bit is the soul-baring, goofball charm that marks Gideon Glick’s
stellar turn as Jordan, complemented by the distinctive identities of his three
BFFs. They are the clownish and loquacious Kiki portrayed by Sas Goldberg with
a notable assortment of grimaces; Vanessa, played by Rebecca Naomi Jones, who
comes across as the most girly of the three, and Lindsay Mendez’s Laura, the
deepest and most sensitive. Laura and Jordan were once platonic roommates, and
as Jordan reminds her, when she had the flu, ”I even cleaned your armpits.”
pretense of these women being glamour girls or fashion plates in the motley
assortment of clothes provided them by costume designer Kate Voyce. But
supporting the adage that “all brides are beautiful,” they all look radiant in
their wedding gowns.
takes place in such time-tested New York rom-com venues as discos and bars, the
ad agency where Kiki and Jordan both work, neat-looking apartments and even the
Museum of Modern Art. There are also the far-flung destination weddings. All
the locales are reasonably suggested on Mark Wendland’s multi-level unit set,
artfully lit by Japhy Weideman.
Jordan’s fear of mounting solitude certainly
merits some degree of audience sympathy, but to be truly heart-rending,
playwright Harmon’s quartet of friends might have to be a little more
consequential than they are. We’re told what jobs they hold, and they seem to
be proficient enough to earn at least adequate livings. But when they get
together, the conversation rarely veers beyond the ins-and-outs of personal
relationships, dwelling in large part on the pleasures and pains of gay
man-straight woman friendship and, naturally, how to find the right mate for Jordan.
We see some of Jordan’s aborted attempts to do just that, and it’s as if
there’s nothing else going on in their self-absorbed world.
intimation of mortality, though, is brought into the mix with Jordan’s recurring visits to his loving grandmother, played by Barbara Barrie. They examine
old photographs, recount the family’s history, and, in a timely exchange,
express admiration for the courage of their immigrant forebears. She likes to
ask her grandson about his “social life,” which on most occasions, he says is
“fine.” She talks about the ways she could kill herself, but assures him that
it’s “just talk.’ These scenes give the play a welcome and somewhat deeper
tone, set by Barrie’s embodiment of the grandmother, dispensing affection in a
graceful, non-gushing manner.
the cast are John Behlmann and Luke Smith, both of whom deftly take on varied
personalities and looks as the husbands of the three new brides and the men who
drift in and out of Jordan’s radar.
Harmon’s play misses being greatly significant, but it provides an engaging
look at straight and gay millennials working through the thorns and thickets of
love versus friendship.
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