THE SEX FILES: Russian Transport

Sarah Steele and Janeane Garofalo star in Russian Transport

I don’t get to a lot of plays that I can write about here on THE SEX FILES. Every so often something sexy will come out and I’ll try and score some press to it, but generally I find sex isn’t so very well represented on stage these days (certainly not on Broadway) and when it is it’s not always so very sexy.

So keeping in this vein I saw a not so very sexy Russian Transport. playing at the Acorn Theatre at The New Group (410 W. 42nd St,) through 3/10, and while it really is not specifically a sex play (about or centered around the naughty act or anything even close) there is intrigue and a good tremor of sexual terror running under the two hours plus.

I just wish I could recommend it.

This is a case of one of those ‘great casts, not so great piece’ that I know we have all seen from time to time. I often get this with movies where some heavyweight like a Meryl Streep plays an amazing part in a lackluster movie and her performance makes us forget the film. I wish I could say this for Erika Sheffer ‘s Russian Transport, but a play is a different experience than the old flickers.

Taking place as it does in the modern-day Russian Jewish community of Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn right here at home, the cast does a fantastic job with a difficult language (at least we have to assume a heavy Russian accent would be difficult for American actors). I applaud a startling strong performance by Jeneane Garofalo as the tough matriarch of this disjointed little crew (and I call them a crew for a few reasons), Daniel Oreskes, Raviv Ullman, the truly spectacular Sarah Steele handling more than a few roles (even as she does so briefly) and the menacing (this is where the sexual menace comes from) Morgan Spector. Unfortunately, one figures out exactly what is happening and pretty much where it’s going to go in this predictable two act and though the cast is delivering one hundred percent, I found I didn’t much care what they are delivering or transporting…figuratively and literally.

The set design here is tops, as it always is at The New Group, outfitted by Derek McLane and Dialect Coach Doug Paulson needs to be commented as well, but Spector is used too infrequently, although his buff and snaky self is on stage a lot.

Russian Transport is playing at the Acorn Theatre at The New Group (410 W. 42nd Street) through March 10, 2012. For more information, visit

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