Total Rating: 
November 8, 2016
November 16, 2016
December 18, 2016
Los Angeles
Geffen Playhouse
Theater Type: 
Geffen Playhouse - Gil Cates Theater
Theater Address: 
10886 Le Conte Avenue
Running Time: 
90 min
Alena Smith
Randall Arney

A millennial comedy with a vengeance, Icebergs looks at an LA-based showbiz couple who are trying to cope with some major personal and professional problems.

Calder (Nate Corddry) and Abigail (Jennifer Mudge) are in their mid-30s; he’s a writer/director, she’s an actress, and they live in a sun-filled house in Silverlake, a trendy, faintly bohemian section of L.A. Both have had moderately successful careers in “the industry,” but now things are about to change. Calder has written a hot screenplay that has attracted the interest of a major film studio; if the deal goes through, it could change their lives in a significant way: they could put financial insecurity behind them . . . making it finally possible for Abigail to have a child, something she has put off until now. Question is — does she really want to be a mother?

Her dilemma gives Icebergs its socially relevant underpinning. Abigail, we learn from several long, near-hysterical (but also hilarious) speeches of hers, is fixated on the threat of global warming, convinced that the planet is dying. Why should I bring a child into a poisoned, doomed world? she asks of her husband.

Calder, a decent, idealistic and hopeful chap who desperately wants to be a father, tries to calm her down, make her see that things aren’t as bad as she makes them out to be. It’s tough going, though, largely because she also has a subjective issue with him. Although he wrote his screenplay with her in mind for the lead role, he cravenly gave in when the studio demanded that he cast a name actress in the part.

There are three other people in this world-premiere play: Molly (Rebecca Henderson), a Tarot-card-reading, lesbian neighbor; Reed (Keith Powell), a paleontologist and old pal of Calder’s who has come to L.A. for an academic conference; and Nicky (Lucas Near-Vergrugghe), Calder’s hyper-kinetic agent.

The playwright skillfully integrates these boldly-drawn, raffish characters into the story, giving them lots of pithy and/or funny things to say about L.A. and its weather, drought and earthquakes. They also weigh in on the central arguments about loyalty, principles, climate trauma, carbon footprints, the fear of having children, and the fate of mankind. The result is a deft, clever, oft-touching comedy whose cast and director deserve the highest praise possible.

Nate Corddry, Rebecca Henderson, Jennifer Mudge, Lucas Near-Verbrugge, Keith Powell
Set: Anthony T. Fanning; Costumes: David Kay Mickelsen; Lighting: Daniel Ionazzi; Music/Sound: Richard Woodbury
Willard Manus
Date Reviewed: 
November 2016