'Nerve,' unsettling, thought provoking at None Too Fragile

by Eric Marotta | News Leader Editor Published:

What the heck do they see in each other?

What would anyone see in either of them?

Do they make you nervous?

That's plenty of to think about and discuss after experiencing "Nerve," by Adam Szymkowicz at Akron's None Too Fragile Theater. As a show about an Internet hookup, it's good for a date -- and it's likely to generate some interesting discussion with whoever one sees this play with. Directed by Sean Derry, the play is a dark romantic, comedic examination of two dysfunctional people who, for some reason, find something to like about each other.

Susan, played by Kelly Strand, is a mousey victim who is treated horribly by her ex-boyfriend, and treats herself poorly as well. She's a regular at the Internet dating scene and likes to cut herself with a little blade she keeps in her purse.

Elliot, played by Brian Kenneth Armour, has a history as a stalker with restraining orders who carves on the restaurant table with Susan's knife. At home, he plays on the computer. Not unsurprisingly, he sees something in Susan. She is, after all, the first woman to show up after making arrangements with him online.

And so the evening progresses around the single table, with a touch of profanity, a lot of sexual innuendo -- and flat out comic relief, as the two retire briefly offstage, only to be heard making "suggestive" noises while out of sight.

Yet, even after all the commotion, their relationship remains tenuous to the end, leaving plenty of loose ends to consider as they wrap up their date.

Strand and Armour are both convincing -- and almost sweet -- in their roles, and None Too Fragile is a clean, intimate venue for the play. Tucked away in the back of Pub Bricco, the theater seats about 50 in comfortable chairs and not a bad seat in the room.

Ticket and show information

"Nerve" can be seen through Sept. 28.

Show times are Sept. 22 at 2 p.m., Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m. and Sept. 27 and 28 at 8 p.m. Tickets are on sale now via the theater's website at www.nonetoofragile.com. Suggested ticket price is $20, but the theater has a "pay-what-you-can" policy. Complimentary valet parking is available.

The theater is at 1841 Merriman Road in Akron, with the entrance through Pub Bricco.

Next on stage

None Too Fragile is next scheduled to produce "Pounding Nails" by Eric Bogosian, a one-man, dark comedy which will run Nov. 29 through Dec. 7.

Email: emarotta@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9433

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