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Villainous Company, written by Victor L. Cahn, opened this week at the Theatre Row.

Starring Alice Bahlke, Julia Campanelli and Corey Tazmania, this story follows three women, in the middle of a ‘film-noir’ investigation. Tracy, played by Bahlke, follows Claire (Tazmania) home one day, and accuses her of art theft. When Joanna (Campanelli) comes into play, Tracy finalizes her investigation, placing Joanna as the head of the issue.

Directed by Eric Parness and produced by Rachel Reiner Productions, this play follows the ‘film-noir’ genre closely, with many twists and turns, and allows the audience to look around the set for themselves, and investigate personally. While the set design, props and costumes are beautiful, the acting seemed a bit unnatural. There were times of surprise and true honesty between the women onstage, but sometimes the suspense and humor were lost. However, once the second act began, the relationships between the women started to pick up and the language felt more within the genre than during the first act. Faster pace and honest reactions allowed the show to end with more surprise.

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Victor Cahn has written many off-broadway plays over the years, and Rachel Reiner Productions has worked on a number of them. The playwright offers the actors a chance to play two characters at once, one good and the other manipulative. “Villainous Company” is written in such a way that it ends with an unexpected bang. Hopefully during the run of the show, the actors will settle into their roles and create well-rounded characters. Once that happens, the writing and acting will be able to work together to create a cohesive work of art.

The show will run through January 31, 2015 at Theatre Row’s Clurman Theatre (410 West 42 Street). Tickets are $19.25 (including a $1.25 theatre restoration charge) and can be purchased at www.Telecharge.com or by  calling (212) 239-6200.

-Talia Edelheit