WLS Review: "Extinction"

Gabe McKinley's drama "Extinction," starring James Roday and Michael Weston, began previews Off-Broadway last night at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York City.

Following a fall run at Los Angeles' Elephant Space Theatre, Roday (PSYCH) and Weston (HOUSE/SCRUBS) reprise their performances in the New York run. Wayne Kasserman directs a cast that also features original Los Angeles cast members Amanda Detmer (PRIVATE PRACTICE) and Stefanie E. Frame.

"Extinction," according to press notes, is "about what transpires between two college buddies whose annual outing of male-bonding and debauchery veers precipitously off course when unmet expectations spiral into a volatile showdown."

The play is 90 minutes with no intermission. The packed house was drawn in from the opening scene between Roday and Weston and the time flew by. The play took a much darker turn than the opening implied but there was never a dull moment. The dialogue was witty, at times politcally incorrect, and mostly on point. My only quibble with the entire show was the ending, which I won't give away here. After such an excellent first 89 minutes, the end just sort of left things in a strange place. But don't let that stop you. The chemistry between Roday and Weston was electric.

The production has an interesting scenic design by Steven C. Kemp, lighting design by Mike Durst and costume design by Gali Noy.

Here is the S.A.S.S. [Short Attention Soap Summary]

WHAT:  "Extinction," a Gabe McKinley play currently in previews with opening night on February 17, 2010.

WHY SOAP FANS WILL LOVE IT:  This play takes you on a journey with the two main characters as well as the women that enter their lives later in the night. There's a great mix of drama, humor and intensity.

BOTTOM LINE:  If you like the dynamic of a long-term friendship that has a lot of underlying darker feelings and insecurities, or if you're a fan of Roday or Weston, check this show out.

VERDICT: This is one of the more enjoyable plays I've seen in a long time. For tickets, priced $45, phone (212) 239-6200 or visit Telecharge.com. The Cherry Lane Theatre is located at 38 Commerce Street in Manhattan. The show is presented by Red Dog Squadron, the Cherry Lane Theatre and Dule Hill. Performances are scheduled through March 14.

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