I wish that I were able to fully explain the plot of Angry Young Man, the British import that has arrived on American soil at New York’s Urban Stages. This is, by no means, a slam against playwright Ben Woolf. Nor it is a criticism of director Stephen Hamilton, who conducts this incredibly nimble cast like a precisely engineered Swiss watch. The dilemma lies primarily with the construct of the show.
Angry Young Man follows Actor A (Nazli Sarpkaya), Actor B (Max Samuels), Actor C (Rami Margron) and Actor D (Christopher Daftsios) each of whom play the same character, Youssef, at different parts throughout the show. Youssef is a Middle Eastern doctor who has just arrived in London. Unfortunately, he is met with suspicion and disdain and has great difficulty assimilating into the culture. He is befriended by a cautious friend, Patrick, and crosses paths with a white supremacist and Allyson, an alluring female played cheekily by Samuels.
Thanks to the rapid fire dialogue and hi-jinks, the 80 minute Off Broadway piece moves as though it were a high speed locomotive. We get the gist that this is all about the fear of “the other” and that foreigners are not to be trusted. It’s a reflection of current headlines ripped from the cover of the “failing” New York Times (written in jest). It’s surprising just how relevant the piece is since it was written ten years ago. It was hugely successful, both at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and at the Adelaide Festival in Australia.
What makes Angry Young Man so entertaining is not necessarily the story, but rather the break neck choreography and antics that are so well executed by this terrific cast. Sometimes, laughter is enough and it proves to be the most efficient cure for societal ailments.
Angry Young Man plays through April 9th at Urban Stages (259 West 30th street between 7th and 8th.) For tickets and information, visit http://urbanstages.org/angryyoungman.