The Escort

Jane Anderson’s new play about a call girl shows “the manifold ways Eros throws us off our game,” said Charles McNulty in the Los Angeles Times.

Geffen Playhouse

Los Angeles

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Jane Anderson’s new play about a contemporary call girl isn’t for seekers of cheap thrills, said Charles McNulty in the Los Angeles Times. Its aim isn’t to titillate; this is a story about “the manifold ways Eros throws us off our game.” In scenes that might otherwise require nudity, the actors appear instead in flesh-colored body suits, a staging choice deftly explained by the title character, Charlotte, during a funny opening address to the audience. The drama itself begins as Charlotte (Mad Men’s Maggie Siff) arrives for her first gynecological exam with Dr. Rhona Bloom (Polly Draper), whom she clicks with immediately. Rhona, a divorced mother of a 13-year-old boy with worrisome Internet habits, is intrigued by the sex worker’s professionalism, and seeks advice. Soon, Charlotte becomes involved in Rhona’s personal life, with decidedly awkward results.

This is where the script gets confusing, said Paul Hodgins in the Orange County, Calif., Register. Rhona is never allowed to resolve her conflicted feelings about Charlotte’s work because the playwright hasn’t resolved her own. Things “devolve into near-melodrama” when one of Charlotte’s rendezvous goes horrifically wrong, and she’s punished in a way that feels out of proportion with her sins: She’s mainly guilty “of social climbing, and willful naïveté about her work.” Still, one hopes Anderson will eventually smooth out the rough edges of this intriguing play, though “not too much.” When the subject is sex, it seems only right that “there’s a bit of mystery behind the motivations.”

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