Atlanta Art Reviews by Susan K Asher
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‘Seminar’ Best-In-Class at Actor’s Express

2013 May 21
Barret Doyle and Andrew Benator

Barret Doyle and Andrew Benator

If “Seminar” is not the best show ever at Actor’s Express, it’s the best I’ve ever seen.

A knockout script and a great cast moves each scene along at a clip and the premise and characters are a fresh slice of life. Playwright Theresa Rebeck, the creator of the one -time hit TV series “Smash” (yuck!), creates Mamet-style tough New York characters who call it as they see it. Leonard (Andrew Benator), the tough-ass, hard-as-nails writing instructor  spits out the truth with biting cuts that nearly chase his “pussy” students out of the class.

Held in a student’s Upper West Side apartment, each student has paid $5,000 to hear critiques from this renowned journalist who tears into their writing like a piranha. But as in writing, less is more, and Leonard is swift and to the point with his criticisms.

Everything about this show is so lifelike, even the class trollop, Izzy (Bryn Striepe), who bares her breasts and has no qualms about sleeping her way to a writing contract. But neither the sex nor the F-bombs seem gratuitous or over the top. It’s typical New York struggling artists studying with a tough-as-a-truck teacher who accepts no BS in writing.

If you ever took private classes in New York, this will bring back memories. And if you ever wondered what it would be like to study with a hot-shot, big-wig teacher in New York, you’ll see. Take a bite out of this big apple.

Directed by Freddie Ashley with terrific performances by Andrew Benator and Cara Mintella, who plays Kate, “Seminar” runs through June 16 at Actors Express.

Cast: David Plunkett, Barrett Doyle.

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