Thursday, October 2, 2014

Money Grubbin’ Whores @ The Lion Theater @ Theatre Row

Don’t let the title fool you, Money Grubbin’ Whores is surprisingly relatable for everyone!
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a messy divorce negotiated in the downstairs party room of a Northern New Jersey pizza joint. In this new dark comedy, NYC union plumber Matt and his gorgeous, Israeli wife Aviva are getting divorced. The back-room deal is mediated by Matt’s best friend Frankie, and Aviva’s cousin Moshe. As the couple battles it out through cultural differences, mixed messages, and high passions, one question remains…what is the price of love?
Sean J Quinn’s writing is smart, honest, funny, touching and a bit brash. Money Grubbin’ Whores opens with an overload of F-bombs and other profanities; so many that they are a bit distracting to the story line at first and hinder the laughter the script demands.  But after about 20 minutes, the characters begin to shift and the audience becomes desensitized to all of the obscenities, allowing the truth of the plot and personalities to shine.
Adam Mucci (Matt), Carmit Levité (Aviva), James Andrew O’Connor (Frankie), and Penny Bittone (Moshe) give outstanding performances. This is truly an ensemble piece. Each actor flavors it with their own individual spice yet stay consistently in perfect balance with each other. Mucci provides just the right amount of fire necessary to portray the passionate New Jersey Irishman. O’Connor delivers the quintessential Tri-state area Italian flawlessly. Bittone is a joy to watch as the smarmy Moshe and Levité breathes depth and sincerity into all of Aviva’s motions.
Under the direction of Brian Cichocki, this stellar cast wins over the audience. Though the scenery never changes, Cichocki’s pictures are always interesting and natural. Patrick Rizzotti’s detailed scenic design also aids in keeping the dull at bay. From the colorful party banners to the stacks of pizza boxes, everywhere you look there is something inviting you deeper into the North New Jersey Pizzza Joint.
If you have ever been through a divorce, a break-up, been in love or made mistakes, then you will connect with the heart of Money Grubbin’ Whores… see it before you can say you’re sorry!  

Review By: Staci Morin
Photos By: Zack DeZon

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