The Last Days of Cleopatra ★☆☆☆☆

Urban Stages
August 20 – September 7

Written by Laoisa Sexton
Directed by Tim Ruddy

Less a play than a series of interconnected monologues, Laoisa Sexton’s The Last Days of Cleopatra quickly becomes a dispiriting, tedious bore.  Billed as “raw, visceral and provocative” in its press materials, the production, produced by Georganne Aldrich Heller and directed by Tim Ruddy, is too static and talky to either enliven or illuminate.   Sexton, who made a splash last year at The Irish Rep in For Love, a dramedy which she also starred in and wrote, plays Natalie, a ‘singing-telegram’ delivery girl (and sometime stripper) grappling with the illness and eventual death of her mother.  Michael Mellamphy plays her confrontational, gay brother Jackey who works at a dead-end job in a convenience store, while Kenneth Ryan is their emotionally dismissive father, Harry.  Rounding out the company is Kevin Marron in a series of supporting characters.  But where For Love was a piece in which the cast interacted with each other and performed dialogue, The Last Days of Cleopatra isn’t so lucky.  This wearyingly dysfunctional family sits on stools in spotlights and take turns delivering monologues that provide exposition and character quirks, but little drama.  Only towards the end of the show’s interminable 90-minutes do Sexton’s characters begin to interact with each other on-stage, for no discernible reason.  Unfortunately, it’s too little too late.

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