When you leave A Life at Playwrights Horizons, you’ll be—if you aren’t already—thanking your lucky stars for David Hyde Pierce. It is not overstating the case too much to say that he is giving the performance of a lifetime in Adam Bock’s new play.
First off, there’s no fourth wall separating you from the character he plays. His Nate Martin strolls onto the stage of the fourth-floor, 128-seat Peter Jay Sharp Theater as matter-of-factly and familiarly as his Niles Frasier did for 11 years when he entered your living room. Martin is your average middle-aged Manhattan gay guy, unmoored by the latest in a long line of amorous disasters—a walking-talking whopping wound of a romantic, wondering like Alfie, “What’s it all about?” He consults the astrological charts and ponders his place in the universe, flailing about in failed relationships. “The truth is hard to find and almost impossible to hold onto,” he eventually decides.