“Chasing Manet”: Glorious Jane

manet_col_w_names1Jane Alexander (left) is giving a tough, unsentimental, very moving performance in Tina Howe’s play “Chasing Manet,” now off-Broadway at Primary Stages in New York. As Catherine Sargent, a Boston-bred painter now living in a a nursing home in Riverdale (the upscale area of the Bronx), Alexander rages against her confinement, and hatches a plan to escape with her mentally fuzzy roommate, Rennie, portrayed with just the right balance of charm and fear by Lynn Cohen (right). Though Alexander and Cohen inhabit the story’s center, the effect of the piece, sensitively directed by Michael Wilson, would not be the same without the rest of the ensemble: Vanessa Aspillaga, Jack Gilpin, David Margulies, Rob Riley, and Julie Halston. I notice that Miss Halston has co-written a book called “Monologues for Show-Offs.” Very good, though with the caliber of the “Manet” company Miss Halston is right not to show off here.

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