Will Cavedo as Cody looks the part of a rising rock star when he first walks on the stage — kind of a Justin Timberlake blend of boyish charm and stage nasty. Cody is engaged to Becca (Laura Lounge) and all is well until temptation slips in the side door, offering each of them bright, red juicy bites of on-the-side loving. Who will sink their teeth in first and just how good will it taste going down?

Playwright Steven Dietz knows what holds an audience’s attention. And it ain’t philosophical debate.

Leah, played by Aaron Ballard, is the chain-smoking, cynical superstar of days gone by. Ballard gives the character just the right touch of jaded detachment and projects a come-hither mix of stardust and beer blur that belies her years.

Cavedo, who looks the part but delivers an inconsistent performance, warms up for his scenes with Ballard. When the hot new star and the lady who’s been-there-done-that, find themselves in a room together, the sexual tension is palpable… and is quickly followed by palpation. Lots of it.

Compare this scene to an unconvincing one earlier on where Cody (Cavedo) and his fiancée have a domestic squabble in the kitchen over a phone call from a man she’s met on a business trip.

Michael Byrne Zemarel delivers a stand-out performance as Roy, the sweet-natured kleptomaniac and public radio announcer. His monologue, following the intermission, earns him the loudest spontaneous applause of all the acts and likely the most sympathy of all the characters. He is the good guy, despite shoplifting being his particular nervous tic, who does not get the girl in the end.

A good deal of the buzz about Trust centers on the onstage nudity, glass-smashing, smoking, and swearing. As director Lyndsay Garner Webb points out, this does tend to draw in the curious. What’s done is done in context, however, not gratuitously; perfectly consistent with the characters portrayed.

This is a solid effort and an engaging story, a stark glance at the myriad insecurities, innuendo, double standards, appraisals, loves, and lusts that make us all mix and mingle.

TRUST • Piccolo Spoleto’s Stelle Di Domani Series • $15; $12 seniors/students • May 26, 29, 31, June 3, 6, 8, 10 at 8:30 p.m., May 27, 28, June 1, 2, 4, 7, 9 at 5:30 p.m. • 2 hour 15 min • Theatre 220, Simons Center, 54 St. Philip St. • 554-6060

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