Jacuzzi OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Sara Krulwich
  • NY TIMES

  • VARIETY

  • NY DAILY NEWS

  • TM

  • EW

Opening Night:
October 13, 2014
Closing:
November 1, 2014

Theater: Ars Nova / 511 West 54th Street, New York, NY, 10019

Synopsis: 

In the Marshall family’s peacefully remote Colorado ski chalet, Erik and Helene are making themselves very much at home. So at home, they just might stay for good. At the edge of civilization, the lifestyles of the rich collide with the lifestyles of the aimless in the bubbling waters of a hot tub.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Jacuzzi

    The Water’s Fine, but Some Things Are Not

    Charles Isherwood

    October 13, 2014: A good rule of thumb: Never get into a hot tub with total strangers. Sure, some fun things can happen — many a 1970s porn movie traded on such a premise — but mighty bad ones can, too, as the new play Jacuzzi, written by and starring Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen, slyly intimates. Set in a ski town in Colorado, the play, a production from the Debate Society that opened on Monday night at Ars Nova, takes place in a cozy living area dominated by a big tub. As it begins, a young man and woman are enjoying the steaming water, so comfortably in contrast to the snow piled up outside. They seem at home, but when a ski-suited figure blows into the room, we learn that Bo (Chris Lowell), as he introduces himself, is actually the son of the proprietor, and he wasn’t expecting to encounter guests. Or a Jacuzzi, either. This recent addition was the long-cherished brainchild of Bo’s dad, who went through an acrimonious divorce from Bo’s mother, and who somehow ended up with this chalet that’s long been in her family. He’s always wanted to plant a Jacuzzi in it, and now that it’s his, he’s got his wish.

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  • VARIETY REVIEW OF Jacuzzi

    Off Broadway Review: The Debate Society’s ‘Jacuzzi’

    Marilyn Stasio

    October 13, 2014: The stage at Off Broadway’s Ars Nova is so long and narrow, there’s hardly room to swing a cat.  So it might seem absurd to install a fully functioning hot tub as the centerpiece of the set for Jacuzzi. Luckily, theater of the absurd happens to be the aesthetic of The Debate Society, the creatively inventive company currently in residence at Ars Nova. So that ridiculous hot tub plays a key role in this mysterious drama written by Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen — who also spend a lot of time soaking in the tub. Owning a Jacuzzi was a pretty big deal in 1991, almost as big a deal as having your own ski chalet at the top of a mountain in Colorado.  Which is where we find a woman who calls herself Helene (Bos) and a man who calls himself Derek (Thureen) when this offbeat play opens.  Out of place in such a posh resort setting, this scruffy couple appear to be the local caretakers of the ski lodge, stealing a bit of aquatic relaxation after clearing the trails and opening the house for the rich guy who owns it and is due to arrive the next day for a father-son ski race.

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  • NY DAILY NEWS REVIEW OF Jacuzzi

    Mystery carries a sinister edge in suspenseful drama from Debate Society

    Joe Dziemianowicz

    October 13, 2014: The setting of Jacuzzi is a secluded Colorado chalet, where Helene (Hannah Bos) and Eric (Paul Thureen) relax in the sauna as the action begins. Then a caller leaves a phone message suggesting something’s amiss. Dramatic bait has been dropped, and we’re hooked. Bo (Chris Lowell of the movie The Help), a deeply troubled rich 26-year-old whose dad owns the home, arrives. Bo figures that the duo has rented the place and that he’s intruding. But the play keeps you guessing about the nature of the curious twosome whose easy smiles seemingly mask something sinister. Soon Bo’s estranged dad, ­Robert (Peter Friedman), still bitter about his divorce, arrives. He treats Helene and Eric like they’re personal servants. But who’s ­really got the power ­becomes clear as the characters come into somewhat sharper focus.

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  • THEATERMANIA REVIEW OF Jacuzzi

    Yes, there's a real Jacuzzi on stage. No, that's not nearly the most fascinating thing about this play

    Zachary Stewart

    October 13, 2014: In the best thrillers, the things that are left unsaid and unseen are far scarier than anything revealed onstage. That is particularly true in The Debate Society's Jacuzzi, which is making its world premiere at Ars Nova. This mysterious theatrical striptease will haunt your thoughts for days after you leave the theater. The play takes place in a well-appointed ski chalet in a remote part of Colorado circa 1991. Scenic designer Laura Jellinek has built the living room along one of the long walls of the theater, creating a very wide playing space and allowing for life-size opulence. Knickknacks adorn the slanted walls. Antique snowshoes are mounted above a credenza. A fake fireplace occupies center stage. A large working Jacuzzi dominates the space between the fireplace and the sliding glass doors that lead to the winter wonderland outside. This is where we find Helene (Hannah Bos) and Erik (Paul Thureen), soaking in the water as they attentively read a parenting book called Making Bobby Robert by Jackie and Robert Elder. Suddenly, the book's subject, Bo Elder (Chris Lowell) walks into the house wearing a full ski suit. This is his parents' vacation home and he didn't expect there to be any renters. It's bitterly cold outside, so Helene and Erik invite him to stay. It's the least they could do. After all, they've just spent the day reading about the most embarrassing episodes of his childhood.

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  • ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY REVIEW OF Jacuzzi

    Jacuzzi Review

    Jason Clark

    October 13, 2014: To some, the personal whirlpool spa known as the Jacuzzi is a germy, cramped, luxury punchline. But to the 1980s quartet in The Debate Society's wickedly comic new play (playing at Off Broadway's Ars Nova through Nov. 1), it's an unmistakable way of life. Director Oliver Butler and actors Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen (who comprise the above-named theater company) have made splashes with works such as Blood Play and Buddy Cop 2, incorporating deadpan naturalism with sinister undertones. Jacuzzi furthers the trend, with some terrific results. As the play opens, we see two folks with an awful lot of hair, Helene (Bos) and Derek (Thureen)—or as he's sometimes called, Eric—chillaxing in the play's titular tub (which is fully operational on stage, in case you wondered). They are both reading the same biography and exchanging niceties and piquant observations about the Colorado ski chalet they're inhabiting (mounted impressively on a taut, 47-foot horizontal set by Laura Jellinek). But who are they...really? It isn't until the chalet owner's overprivileged, nervous son Bo (Chris Lowell) arrives with literal and metaphorical baggage that we learn that Helene and Derek are caretakers on the estate. But again, are they? Robert (Peter Friedman), the divorced author who owns the property, certainly seems to think so. He shows up attempting to reconnect with his distant son, whom he reimburses financially to spend time with him. A fractured family emerges, and Robert begins to treat the odd duo that help him pack boxes and shop for groceries as if they're his offspring. But if this is all a charade, how long can it be kept up?

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