The Bare Truth
By H.G Brown, directed by Laurie Rae Waugh
Reviewed by Robert Viagas
The new Off-Off-Broadway comedy The Bare Truth tries to wring two-plus hours of sitcom-style comedy out of a pair of Florida grandparents who announce to their excessively shocked adult children that they have become nudists.
The wanly funny show, having its world premiere at the American Theatre of Actors, lacks the courage of its naked ambition in several ways. For instance, there is no actual nudity—not even when the main characters are offstage. The grandpa (Ken Coughlin) appears at one point in swim trunks, and the grandma (Francesca Devito) appears in a low-cut caftan, but that’s about it. The needed scene where the children react in comic horror at their parents’ bare skin is simply not present.
Instead, the characters sit around Coughlin’s set (he’s also the lighting and sound designer) and argue about the more interesting things happening offstage. A doubly unnecessary scene at the top of Act II recaps everything that we heard had happened in Act I.
As a pair of wacky (and fully dressed) nudist neighbors, Mike Durell and Amy Losi add some liveliness to the proceedings. But Johnny Blaze Leavitt and Autumn Mirassou are just a pair of pills as the main characters’ uptight offspring. The role of comic foil has a long and honorable history. They could have done much more with their roles, and author H.G. Brown should have given them more to work with. But the script, which feels like it was written for a 1960s TV series like “Love American Style,” doesn’t afford them much of an opportunity. Is casual naturism still considered this big of a deal?
The Bare Truth, which also features performances by Rooki Tiwari and Manny Rey, played at the American Theatre of Actors complex at 314 West 54thStreet through February 3.