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"The Altruists"

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Nicky Silver's The Altruists reasserts his torrential facility for spinning out absurdist fantasies about our foibles and follies. But once again, the glibness outruns the valid ideas to hurtle into a near-amorphous mush of good and bad jokes, pointed and pointless observation, cutesy titillation, and outrageous nonsense. Here we have a group of chronic East Village protesters, marching for every real or unreal cause coming down the pike or up from Tompkins Square, while leading completely selfish lives and committing injustices identical to the ones they unthinkingly march against.

I cannot begin to summarize a plot involving every kind of sexual excess including murder. Everyone sleeps with everyone else, regardless of gender, any shred of loyalty, or even recollection of the past night's copulatory tumult. David Warren has staged it at Indianapolis 500 speed, aimed to forestall the slightest chance of rational demurral. The parade of grotesqueries viewed and heard at breakneck tempo induces a hypnotic state that some audience members may mistake for an enriching experience.

It is, at any rate, well acted by Joey Slotnick, Eddie Cahill, Kali Rocha, Sam Robards, and especially Veanne Cox, though one wonders whether she could do a part not based on her trademark comic-hysteric monologues. Neil Patel's tongue-in-cheek scenery makes its farcical contribution.


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