It's an intriguing structure that only occasionally feels like a gimmick. A shootout in a deli, a fight at a strip club, and a domestic blowup mix with smaller scale events such as a flirtation, a call to a DJ, and some kinky sex. However, the piece -- written and performed by the ensemble and directed by Laura Tesman -- includes so many storylines that many end up feeling underdeveloped.
For example, what happens to rookie cop Rose (Ayo Chrysais W) begins to strain credulity if it is all supposed to have occurred in one night. Similarly, the scenario involving security guard Virgil (Gregory Anderson-Elysee) lacks a consistency in terms of character continuity, even given that people sometimes act differently with family than they do with complete strangers.
Indeed, the only plot thread to feature a significant and plausible journey for one of the characters is that of Marcus (compellingly performed by Dennis Kravstov), a man involved in a human trafficking operation. In one of the earlier scenes of the play, we see the decision that he's come to in regards to his job, and as the production progresses we find out precisely what triggered this transformation.
The quality of the writing varies widely in Nocturnal, as do the abilities of the cast. Among the brighter talents are Salvatore Linea, who delivers a charmingly understated performance as deli worker Khizar; Dante Jayce in the fairly minor role of a talkative cabbie; and Alexander Wright, as a velvety voiced DJ.
Less effective are Niki Rios, who gives a bad first impression delivering an off-rhythm and tritely written spoken word poem, and Anya Elnikova who tries too hard in her portrayal of an eccentric bag lady who was once a celebrated pianist.
-- Dan Bacalzo