Playwright Ronan Noone is busily leaving his theatrical mark in Boston, heaping one successful play on top of another, especially with the likes of Brendan,” “Little Black Dress,” “The Atheist,” and the recent world premiere of his newer play, “The Second Girl,” at Huntington Theatre.
His newest one-act comedy, “Scenes from an Adultery,” misses the mark, though. Bridget Kathleen O’Leary directs Noone’s bawdy play with tongue-in-cheek hyperbole, punctuating scenes in-between with David Remedios’ zingy, electronic sounds and music. Janie E. Howland’s set is snazzy, and Christopher Brusberg’s contemporary, dual purpose lighting panels cleverly illuminate the stage, changing colors and setting scenes by announcing time passage.
The trio of actors portraying old college buddies-longtime best friends - Ciaran Crawford as Gasper, Peter Stray as Tony and Leda Uberbacher as Lisa, Tony’s wife of 10 years - are entertaining, for the most part,too; but the plot is sophomoric. It’s reminiscent of the children’s game of gossip, or telephone, in which one person at the end of a line whispers something, and by the time it gets to the other end, it’s embellished, exaggerated. In Noone’s social comedy, it can also be damaging.
At their weekly pub meet, Gasper tells Tony he saw something that piqued his suspicion. He happened to see Corinne, wife of their mutual pal and pub buddy, Dean,cozying up to an unknown guy in a restaurant, then going to a hotel with him. Gasper says he followed them in a cab, to prove what he saw. He asks Tony whether he should tell Dean about it.
As Gasper, Crawford is the most interesting character. He’s a casual,comic cad, who shrugs his shoulders and sallies forth, creating more mayhem. Gasper has an especial penchant for raising Tony’s blood pressure,with his off-the-cuff comments and juicy gossip tidbits.
And it works. Peter Stray as Tony overacts at times, while frustrated and/or tipsy, but we get the point. He wants no part of gossip-mongering, adding they should mind their own business. Besides, he knows Dean was unfaithful to Corinne at one time. Oops!
Tony and Lisa have been happily married for 10 years. He didn’t tell Lisa about their friends’ alleged infidelity, but Lisa wheedles it out of him, then becomes angry that he kept a secret from her. Her suspicion escalates, so she does some investigating on her own, then she over-reacts to circumstantial situations. On and on it goes, tension and mistrust mounting. Week one. Week two. Week three. Week four, through Week seven.
Meanwhile, Tony keeps his weekly drink dates with Gasper. At Gasper’s urging, Tony reveals his non-misdemeanor with a blonde in Wisconsin. Is it real, though?
Meanwhile Lisa secretly asks Gasper to come over, so she can pump him for information.During their chat over mid-afternoon drinks, Gasper discusses his love life and tosses out a big hint. “Am I a creep?” he asks.
He’s dating and bedding the 23-year-old daughter of another friend of theirs. No, it doesn’t bother him. He’s single.
Tony arrives home from work early and finds Lisa and Gasper together. He has been drinking - for a reason. He drinks more, his suspicions mounting about Lisa and Gasper’s tete-a-tete.
And the beat goes on, to a sober, predictable conclusion.
BOX INFO: Next Rep world premiere of one-act, 85-minute comedy by Ronan Noone, appearing through May 17, at New Repertory Theatre’s Charles Mosesian Theater, Arsenal Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal St., Watertown. Performances: May 13,14, at 7:30 p.m.; May 15,16, at 8 p.m.; matinees, May 14,17, at 2 p.m.; May 16, at 3 p.m. Check for talkbacks. Tickets, $30-$60; senior, student, group discounts. Call the Box Office at 617-923-8487 or visit newrep.org.