Review: In ‘Jericho,’ Another Spin of the Romantic Carousel

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He’s less accustomed to the stubbornly determined love that Julie, a kitchen worker at a women’s hostel, offers from the outset. On their first evening together — after his employer, Mrs. Mosca (a solid Stephanie Pope, too briefly seen), gives him the boot — Julie elects to stay out past curfew and lose her job, too. It’s a bold move at a time when people are standing in bread lines.

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From left: Jack Sochet, Jerzy Gwiazdowski and Mr. Flutur in the play, which is set in Coney Island during the Depression. Credit Dustin Moore

Mr. Weller, who landed in controversy last fall when Brandeis University canceled a staging of “Buyer Beware,” his play about Lenny Bruce, adds a vaguely ghoulish, shape-shifting narrator (Jerzy Gwiazdowski) to the proceedings, which is also a bold move. Unlike Julie’s, it pays off.

But Ms. Braza never gets her arms around one of the trickiest things about “Liliom” and its variations — a tone that shades from violence to euphoria, menace to humor. The audience response is sometimes unintended laughter.

It is a curiously cast production, too. Ms. Sloat makes an appealing Julie, but the talented Mr. Flutur doesn’t have the brawn that Jericho requires, and there is no lurking threat in his performance. Ms. Braza has also enlisted a much too youthful actress, Erinn Holmes, to play an old woman — small role, big distraction.

Jamal James is compelling, though, in his handful of parts. And the company’s secret ace is the protean Jack Sochet, whose several roles include Jericho’s pal, Tynk, an amusing criminal who isn’t above murder. Toggling between comedy and cruelty, Mr. Sochet displays an easy agility that this production could use a lot more of.

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