Best Angst-Ridden Show (2000)

This Is Our Youth

Was there any group of young people more head-bangingly angst-filled than the twentysomethingers living in New York City during the cocaine-driven days of the 1980s? Not according to Kenneth Lonergan's This Is Our Youth, a wickedly cynical script about three would-be adults trapped in that dark crawl space between money, love and art, a space that yawned wide then bit down hard during the decadence of Reagan's "just say no" era. Anyone who witnessed the terrific Atomic Cafe production got an eyeful of the sorts of troubles '80s greed created. Patrick Reynolds as Warren, the towheaded sad sack of a man-child who's beaten by his father then verbally up-sided by his "best" friend, made the painful longings of the scared-shitless heartbreaking. And Drake Simpson as Dennis, the drug-dealing ogre who wants to love but doesn't know how, ramrodded the stage with the sort of spit-spewing, big-fisted energy that can make a show soar. Whipped into a frenzy of energy by Stephen Aleman's direction, the whole show made those teeth-clenching days of wine and overdoses mesmerizing.


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