BEST NIGHT EVER
nytheatre.com review by Josephine Cashman
August 12, 2012
A Best Night Ever shouldn't end with a dead body. But when this play begins, conceptual artist Peg is found in her bathtub dead with a bullet wound. Suspicion immediately falls upon Jake, the man who went home with her earlier that evening.
Told through flashbacks throughout the play, we see the events of that fateful evening; the games, the sex, the gun. In between, we see the people mixed up in this unfortunate homicide being interviewed by a police detective. Tina is the bartender at Jake's watering hole who is also Peg's friend. She has a complicated past with Golden Boy Jake. Then there is Teddy, Jake's roommate. Teddy and Jake have been friends since college, and Teddy has always helped Jake cover up his mistakes. As it turns out, Jake's made more than one.
This isn't so much a murder mystery as a psychosexual exploration of Jake's relationships with the people around him. Sadly, the play lags in many places instead of being riveting. Peg continues to be a mystery, and since we never really get to know Peg very well, there is no reason to care that she is dead.
One of the more interesting characters is Teddy (well played by Ryan Garbayo), whose troubled feelings for Jake make for some interesting and nuanced work. Lou Liberatore gives a fine performance as the Detective, but the character seems superfluous, and only serves as vehicle for exposition. The character could have been explored much further, I think, and there were many moments when his story could have easily intersected with Jake's or Peg's.
It's a dark, engrossing story, with a talented cast, but Barbara Suter's play somehow feels unfinished. I felt like all the pieces of the puzzle were still coming together. I wanted to care more about these intriguing characters, but I only got tantalizing glimpses.