(Please click on the title to see the complete review.)
I am sorry to report that Jenny Schwartz's surrealist comedy now at the Vineyard Theatre is not on the level of her well-regarded "God's Ear" of a few years back. After a promising, delightful first act, it goes off the rails and spins its wheels for two more acts. Although it's always a pleasure to see Kathleen Chalfant (despite the fact her role here not so cleverly recalls her part in "Wit"), the biggest treat here is Kate Mulgrew, who has a brilliant monologue (dialogue if you count the few words her friend is able to get in) before her character melts into a puddle on the street. Chalfant plays Evelyn Armstrong, who is dying of anal cancer. Mulgrew is Rosemary Rappaport, a long-lost friend she runs into on Madison Avenue. Rosemary' estranged son Benjamin (Greg Keller, recently of "Belleville") was a childhood friend of Evelyn's daughter Beatrice (Brooke Bloom), who lost her face to a Dalmatian. Rosemary's real estate client Cecilia (Mary Shulz) is a widow looking for love on the internet. Richard Bekins is T, Evelyn's emotionally distant husband. Maria Elena Ramirez is Lolita, her health care aide. Griffin Birney and Makenna Ballard appear as the young Benjamin and Bernice. Schwartz's clever word play grew tedious after a while. I would have left happy if the play ended after the first act, but my good feelings had evaporated long before the play finally ended. Marsha Ginsberg's set is simple and uncluttered and Jessica Pabst's costumes are fine. I don't know what more director Anne Kauffman could have done to whip the play into a coherent whole. Running time: 2 hours, 15 minutes, including two short intermissions.