Theater: “Sabbath’s Theater” starring John Turturro
Dear New Yorkers: If you detect a sudden rise in your Con Ed bill this month, it’s likely the result of the surfeit of electricity being generated by John Turturro, in nothing less than a career-defining role as Mickey Sabbath in “Sabbath’s Way” (New Group).
Based on the Philip Roth novel, “Sabbath” is the story of Mickey, a puppeteer whose career went belly-up when his affair with a college student came to light. Thus began a number of sexual escapades, including one with Drenka, a Croatian sex addict who calls Mickey “her American boyfriend.”
When Drenka dies, Mickey goes into a tailspin, leaving his wife and going on a sex binge with various other women, including the periodontist wife of his best friend (Jason Kravits). All the women in Mickey’s orbit are played by Elizabeth Marvel, who is aptly named.
But this is Turturro’s show from start to finish. His quasi-adolescent fascination with sex and kinkiness would do Roth proud (they were besties in real life.) And if you are a fan of Roth’s intelligence and his general licentiousness (full disclosure: I’ve been one since “Portnoy’s Complaint”), you will laugh your libido off.
Adapted for the stage by Turturro and Ariel Levy, “Sabbath’s Theater” is another example of the sharp stick in the eye off-Broadway is providing this season. Fun fact: Turturro showed up next to us while we were waiting for a cab. And when a cab did arrive, we let him take it. “Thanks, guys,” he said. To which I responded, “It’s like your movie. We do the right thing.”
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