The North China Lover
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★ ★ "Director and adaptor Heidi Stillman's piece is titled "The North China Lover" and actually is based on a film script rather than Duras' novel. The Tony Award-winning actress Deanna Dunagan speaks the authorial voice, a constant presence on the stage as she conjours these scenes floating in a sea of black. That's a choice with its drawbacks, frankly, because it means that one misses the color, energy and motion of 1929 Vietnam, a crucial contrast in Duras' work in that one constantly hears of the lovers retreating from the pulse of the street into the steamy quiet of a rich man's boudoir. Here, the environment feels austere, something more in keeping with the Brontes, perhaps. But the main issue here is that it is very tough to believe that Rae Gray, a capable adult actress handed a very tough assignment, is a naive 15 year old (she says she is 17, but she clearly is lying). The production also has not really decided what it wants to do with those famously difficult erotic themes: there is too little exploration of the desirability of this experience or the lack thereof. And there is no palpable sensual chemistry between the actors." Chris Jones, [Read the full review](,0,4829783.column)