Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Tale of The Allergist's Wife"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2010 by Tony Annicone

"The Tale of The Allergist's Wife"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The Players third show of their 101st season is Charles Busch's "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife". He explores the Upper West Side milieu of aspiring intellectual and middle-aged upper class matron Marjorie Taub, who lives comfortably with her doctor husband Ira in an expensively furnished condo near Zabar's and spends her days and evenings pursuing culture at various museums and the theatre. Her ongoing effort to improve her mind and soul has brought Marjorie to the conclusion that she will never be more than mediocre, a feeling enhanced by her elderly mother's constant complaints about her shortcomings and her husband's altruistic dedication to serving the needs of homeless. Following an emotional outburst in a Disney Store resulting in considerable breakage. Marjorie retires to the safety of her home to wallow in a mid-life crisis. Unexpectedly invading her depression is flamboyant childhood friend Lee who, much like Sheridan Whiteside in "The Man Who Came to Dinner", becomes entrenched in the Taub household as a seemingly permanent guest, not only drawing Marjorie out of her dark mood, but affecting her marriage as well. Director Jeff Sullivan chooses the best 5 people for these roles, keeping the audience in stitches all night long..

Jeff has directed many shows in college but this is his first directorial endeavor in RI. He not only directs the show but also designed the lavish unit apartment set. Stage manager Bonnie Sullivan, Jeff's lovely wife, keeps things running smoothly all night long with props by Lauren Odenwalder while Ruth Fagan handles the lighting for the show. Kathy Oliverio stars as Marjorie. She is fabulous in this off kilter role, delivering her many one-liners superbly. She excels in every role I have ever reviewed her in whether it be drama or comedy, "Deathtrap" or "Pygmalion". Kathy's comic gestures and double takes are perfect. Her stand out moment comes when she has a meltdown near the end of the first act which has to be seen to be believed. It is hysterical. Marjorie also tried to write a book once with Plato and Helen Keller as the main characters. Angie Margiotta is Lee, really Lillian Greenblatt, Marjorie's childhood pal. She does a great job as the madcap character who reminds you of Auntie Mame. Lee knows many famous people and drops many famous names along the way. Some of her antics include tying Frieda's shoelace scene which evoked much laughter and another scene that is shocking. David Adams Murphy is the voice of reason as Marjorie's patient husband Ira. He puts up with all her crazy shenanigans including a surprising twist at the end of Act 1 and later on she invites her best friend to live with them. David does a topnotch job in this role. I last reviewed him in "Working" and "Pygmalion" at Players last season. Eliza Collins is wonderful as the crotchety Frieda who is always swearing, sends Jesse Jackson a letter that says he should stick a big salami up his ass, ridiculing her daughter and calls worthless as well as calls her Blanche Dubois, a couple of times.(The funny thing is "Streetcar Named Desire" is the first show I saw Kathy act in at Providence College where she played Blanche.) Frieda is constipated, belligerent and foul mouthed and Eliza is a hoot in this role. She makes her stage debut in this show. Ben Gracia as Mohammed, the Iraqi doorman who does odd jobs around the house. I have reviewed Ben many times at URI and a couple of times at 2nd Story Theater. His funniest line is about a terrorist killing his cousin "They made him shit himself to death''. I don't want to spoil the ending because there are many twists and turns so I won't be able to say anymore about what happens. To become a member of this theatre club, be sure to call Lydia at 273-0590. Lydia supplied the set dressing for the apartment set.

"The Tale of The Allergist's Wife" (19 - 28 February)
THE PLAYERS
@ Barker Playhouse, 400 Benefit Street, PROVIDENCE RI
1 (401)273-0590

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