Off-Off-Broadway Theater Review: NO ONE LOVES US HERE (New Light Theater Project at Urban Stages)

Post image for Off-Off-Broadway Theater Review: NO ONE LOVES US HERE (New Light Theater Project at Urban Stages)

by Dmitry Zvonkov on January 31, 2015

in Theater-New York


At intermission, following the first act of Ross Howard’s black comedy satire No One Loves Us Here, my companion expressed to me, in a whirlwind of expletives, her belief that Mr. Howard is the leader of a conspiracy whose sole purpose is to lure unsuspecting theatergoers to Urban Stages in order to murder their time, hope, and spirit. And although I disagree with the premeditation aspect of her theory—whatever the result, I usually assume that a creator’s intention is to make something worthwhile—a crime was in progress, maybe not murder but manslaughter, resulting from criminal negligence.

Dick Hughes and Anthony Michael

When nineteen-year-old video store clerk Washington (Anthony Michael Irizarry) shows up on the Beaumonts’ doorstep to retrieve overdue DVDs, Mr. Beaumont (Christian Ryan) mentions to him that the only reason he doesn’t kill his wife, Mrs. Beaumont (Jessica Kitchens), is for fear of incarceration. Washington then suggests ways to dispose of the body, and Mr. Beaumont, apparently happy to have a clear-thinking guide in the matter, invites the boy to live in his guesthouse. I guess this is supposed to be absurd. Maybe? Under Jerry Heymann’s useless direction it’s impossible to tell.

Dick Hughes, Anthony Michael and Chris Ryan

The one joke of No One Loves Us Here, which Mr. Howard takes an hour and thirty minutes to tell, is that suburban middle-class Americans care more about their living rooms not smelling of cigarette smoke than they do about their friends, lovers, spouses, children, and parents. It’s a stylized piece, not intended to be realistic, and if it had a competent director with a vision the show probably could have been more entertaining. But even in an ideal production it would be difficult to get past the fact that Mr. Howard’s play has nothing to say.

Chris Ryan

Perhaps this has to do with the fact that Mr. Howard is a foreigner (he is British) writing about American culture. This is a phenomenon that happens to even the best: an artist, in this case a playwright, comes to a foreign land, has a strong reaction to the unfamiliar (usually negative) things he sees around him, and tries to fashion a socially critical creative work based on these most immediate and obvious—and superficial—observations, without bothering to delve into the nuances of that alien culture. (We see Americans doing this all the time with films that take place in exotic locations.) This expatriate, distracted by low hanging fruit, loses his balance and finds himself on his butt, concussed into writing outside of himself and his world. Maybe this is Mr. Howard’s problem here, in which case he would be well advised to write about something he loves, about something that matters to him, as opposed to choosing abstract characters for whom he feels nothing but contempt.

Additional cast: Dick Hughes and April Kidwell.

Anthony Michael, Chris Ryan and Jessica Kitchens

photos by Hunter Canning

Anthony Michael and Jessica Kitchens.

No One Loves Us Here
New Light Theater Project
Urban Stages, 259 West 30th St
ends on February 7, 2015
for tickets, call 630.632.1459 or visit
for more info, call 347-352-4549 or visit

Leave a Comment