The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings

Search Curtainup








NYC Restaurants


New Jersey







Free Updates
A CurtainUp Review
Everything You Touch
I want to taste your bile.
I want my blood to boil.
And I want to feel too overwhelmed after the experience to speak.
This, to me, is the power of fashion.

— Victor
Allegra Rose Edwards, Miriam Silverman, Nina Ordman and Chelsea Fryer (Photo: Joan Marcus )
Excluding the appearance of black as an indication or symbol of mourning, basic black has been a fashion staple ever since Coco Chanel introduced "the little black dress" shortly after World War II, and as subsequently embraced over the decades by other renowned arbiters of style. This background brings us to the very black 1974 world of fictional haute couture designer Victor (Christian Coulson) in New York's East Village and other places. This weirdly eccentric creation of playwright Sheila Callaghan's dark comedy Everything You Touch is as obsessed with being outside the mainstream as he is also possessed by black as an expression of his darkest visions.

Even before the play begins, our eyes are fixed on the marvelously stark grey-on-grey setting by Francois-Pierre Couture in which sculptures of various body parts are resting in their respective cubicles on the walls. The fabrics and the collection are yet to be seen.

Victor's apparently latest attempt to be as self-servingly au courant as the industry will allow, or disallow pending the verdict, is about to be tested. He wonders whether he will be able to empower his un-wearable designs as well as surrender to the unyielding demons of his most perverse side. "I wanted the mainstream to catch on to my ideas. . .have them make their way to me on their own. Not yank them from their sofas and ram my designs down their gullets."

The play also follows Jess (Miriam Silverman), a frumpy, dumpy young woman with no self-esteem, for which she blames her dying estranged mother. Silverman makes self-deprecation an art form as Jess while Coulson is terrific as the ego-driven Victor. He may prove to be a demon, a redeemer or a contemporary Pygmalion when he miraculously, if incredulously, materializes to help Jess on her journey to self-esteem. Standing by, just in case, is Jess's nerdy high-tech co-worker Lewis (well played by Robbie Tan).

Fantasy and reality are not an uncommon dramatic mix, and Callaghan, whose plays have been produced and developed at many regional theaters, gingerly mixes and mashes these elements together without regard for our ability to ultimately make sense of what we are seeing or hearing. Poetic, stinging, and verbose ("Good God, this century bores me. I wish I was from the 16th Century. Rich Tudor. Breeches, doublets. Capes in the winter. Frilled silk blouses. Square-toed shoes with a fine cork sole. Clothes you can prance in."). The dialogue is also fueled by Victor's outpouring of vitriol and deployed with rage/But that's all to the good, so we prick up our ears as we don't want to miss a word. On the down side, Everything You Touch is also likely to confound and confuse those who want or like their plays neatly and compactly wrapped, as well as repel anyone unwilling to indulge in the artistic merits and pursuits of a serial sociopath.

A fashion show for the industry that is as stunning as it is surreal gets this play off to an extremely funny start. How can we not be amazed as well as amused by Victor's extravagantly satirical line of clothing that evokes a wild and wide spectrum of snarling, vicious, and poisonous creatures. Lest I don't give due recognition: the outré creations by Los Angeles-based designer Jenny Foldenauer are amazing evocations of the animal world (eat your heart out Julie Taymor.)

As worn, or more precisely occupied, by three beautiful, tall, very thin but delightfully animated models (Allegra Rose Edwards, Chelsea Nicolle Fryer, Nina Ordman), the designs are meant to reflect Victor's disassociation and disdain for people. The models, one of whom is destined early on to be a tragic victim of Victor's willful viciousness, return regularly as very amusing inanimate objects.

Totally self-absorbed, Victor has no qualms or misgivings giving the walking papers to the unsuspecting Esme (Tonya Glanz) his accommodating and coldly sexy, long-time muse. Why? Because he is suddenly smitten by Louella (Lisa Kitchens) a home-spun and unspoiled Southern belle contest winner of a fashion make-over who, shades of All About Eve may become Victor's next muse and the inspiration for a more practical fashion line?

Under Jessica Kubzansky's frisky direction, all the players are adept at careening between the superficial and existential worlds. Everything You Touch had its world premiere last April at The Theatre @ Boston Court and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, in Pasadena, California. It now only needs the real world to appreciate and applaud its considerable originality.

Everything You Touch by Sheila Callaghan
Directed by Jessica Kubzansky

Cast: Miriam Silverman (Jess), Christian Coulson (Victor), Tonya Glanz (Esme), Lisa Kitchesn (Louella), Robbie Tan (Lewis), Allegra Rose Edwars (Model 1), Chelsea Nicolle Fryer (Model 2), Nina Ordman (Model 3)
Scenic Design: Francois-:Pierre Couture
Costume Design: Jenny Foldenauer
Lighting Design: Jeremy Pivnik
Original Composition and Sound Design: John Zalewski
Properties Designer: John Burton
Projection Design: Adam Flemming
Production Manager: Jeremy Duncan Pape
Production Stage Manager: Theresa Flanagan
Running Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce Street
Tickets: $55.00
Performances: Tuesday-Friday at 8pm; Saturday at 2pm and 8pm; and Sunday at 3pm
From 01/28/15 Opened 02/12/15 Ends 03/29
Review by Simon Saltzman based on performance 02/10/15
Highlight one of the responses below and click "copy" or"CTRL+C"
  • I agree with the review of Everything You Touch
  • I disagree with the review of Everything You Touch
  • The review made me eager to see Everything You Touch
Click on the address link E-mail:
Paste the highlighted text into the subject line (CTRL+ V):

Feel free to add detailed comments in the body of the email. . .also the names and emails of any friends to whom you'd like us to forward a copy of this review.

For a feed to reviews and features as they are posted add to your reader
Curtainup at Facebook . . . Curtainup at Twitter
Subscribe to our FREE email updates: E-mail:
put SUBSCRIBE CURTAINUP EMAIL UPDATE in the subject line and your full name and email address in the body of the message. If you can spare a minute, tell us how you came to CurtainUp and from what part of the country.
The New Similes Dictionary
New Similes Dictionary

Slings & Arrows  cover of  new Blu-Ray cover
Slings & Arrows- view 1st episode free

Book Of Mormon MP4 Book of Mormon -CD
Our review of the show

©Copyright 2015, Elyse Sommer.
Information from this site may not be reproduced in print or online without specific permission from