by Nita Congress · June 30, 2015
Victor Verhaerghe, Biniam Tekola, Wendie Malick, Gary Cole | SuzAnne Barabas
Your eighteen-year-old daughter is missing. Your husband is preoccupied and alternately indifferent and discouraging. The one-man police force on the Caribbean island where the missing girl was last seen has been dragging his feet for the past three months, seemingly clueless, frustratingly evasive. But the obliging waiter at the hotel thoughtfully replenishes a steady stream of drinks. What’s a distraught mother to do but keep swilling them down and hoping for the best?
New Jersey Rep’s world premiere of Closure by playwright Richard Dresser offers an intriguing evening of mystery and first-rate performances. Wendie Malick, Gary Cole, Victor Verhaerghe, and Biniam Tekola create a tense, taut evening of suspense and black humor in a stylish whodunit. Their top-flight efforts are aided and abetted by skillful director Joe Cacaci and the magnificent design team of New Jersey Repertory Company. In particular, scenic designer Jessica Parks and lighting designer Jill Nagle have brought the colors and sensibility of the Caribbean to the Jersey shore; you can hear the palm trees swaying offstage in the ocean breeze.
Malick, Cole, Verhaerghe, and Tekola deliver nuanced performances as suspicion is cast upon first one, then another. As with a good engaging book, Cacaci’s direction keeps us turning the pages, never looking up or away until the denouement. In all, a satisfying evening.