Ella Hickson’s Precious Little Talent, hailing from Edinburg and London, is making its New York City debut with a limited-run on the west side.
The play proceeds on two tracks – the first, a romance between Sam and Joey (whose real name is Joanna) who meet by chance and have a fling, but… Sam’s relentless American optimism and Joey’s British cynicism collide head on, as do their realities, when Joey discovers that Sam is the caretaker for her father George, whom she hasn’t seen for several years. While trying to decorate George’s apartment for Christmas, Joey discovers that her father – a former professor and the smartest man she knows – is suffering from Alzheimer’s. What she can’t see is his private agony over letting the outside world, especially his daughter, know about his condition; his refusal leads George to push away the people he loves, and who love him.
Precious Little Talent is chock-a-block with ideas: in addition to its poignant depiction of dementia, and its comic depiction of culture clash, the play also highlights the problems today’s recent grads have entering the workforce. At times it seems to want to take a political turn – there’s a scene at the Obama inauguration that feels dropped in – but overall the play conveys how unsettled the world can easily become, and the consequences of our decision to share or not share our private struggles with others.
All three actors – Connor Delves, Eliza Shea and Greg Mullavey give really fine performances. The set, by Maruti Evans is quite imaginative. Under the direction of George C. Heslin, the play moves along, keeping you engaged.
Precious Little Talent is playing only until September 30th at The West End Theatre, at The Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew, 263 West 86th Street.