Theatre Mirror Reviews "The Tale of The Alergist's Wife"

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entire contents copyright 2012 by Tony Annicone

"The Tale of The Allergist's Wife"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Wellesley Players' second show of their 87th season is "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife", an adult comedy, by Charles Busch. It follows the lives of Ira and Marjorie Taub and focuses on the burgeoning midlife crisis of an upper-class, upper-crust, Upper-West-Side woman who fights to better herself through frequent night time visits to museums and theaters. Her neuroses about mediocrity reach a head when she pitches a fit at a Disney store, resulting in substantial damage to the merchandise and her psyche. To add to Marjorie's woes her childhood friend Lee reappears. Fascinating and attractive, Lee seems to have led a life Marjorie could only dream about. Lee's "joie de vivre" lifts Marjorie from the depths. Lee becomes like Sheridan Whiteside in "Man Who Came to Dinner", becoming entrenched in the Taub household as a permanent guest, affecting their marriage. Adding to the fun of the evening is Frieda, Marjorie's mother who is intestinally challenged and the Iraqui Doorman, Mohammed who may seem to be a nice young man but has experience and insights that only a life in the war-torn deserts of Iraq can provide. Director Joe Stallone picks the best five people for these roles, keeping the audience in stitches all night long.

Joe blocks and directs this show beautifully, bringing every nuance to the characters. Scenic designer Doug Cooper created a gorgeous New York apartment. Barbara Douglass stars as Marjorie. She is terrific in this off kilter role, delivering her many one liners with panache. Barbara's comic gestures and double takes are topnotch. Marjorie says she tried to write a book once with Plato and Helen Keller as the main characters, is one of her funny moments. Her most hysterical scene comes at the end of the first act when she has a meltdown which has to be seen to be believed when she thinks Lee is a figment of her imagination. Marjorie's final realization that love, acceptance and forgiveness are the most important parts of her life. Barbara's comic acting reminds you of Doris Roberts.Her best friend, Lee is played by Robby Levy. Lee is really Marjorie's childhood friend, Lillian Greenblatt. Robby does a great job as this madcap character who reminds you of Auntie Mame. Lee knows many famous people and drops many names along the way. Some of her funny antics include tying Frieda's shoelaces which won sustained laughter and another sexy scene that is unbelievable and mentioning it would ruin the surprise it conveys for the audience.

David Kimmelman 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 when he accuses Marjorie of having imagined Lee. As well as when they have a menage a trois with Lee and how they solve the problem of her staying with them for too long. David does a topnotch job in this role. The biggest scene stealer of the night is Alice Springer as Frieda. She is wonderful as this crotchety, woman who is constantly swearing and sends a letter to Jesse Jackson which says he should stick a big kosher salami up his ass. Frieda is constipated then has diarrhea , ridicules her daughter, calls her worthless and also says she is like Blanche Dubois. Alice is a hoot as Frieda. Rounding out the cast is Jared Wright as Mohammed, the Iraqi doorman. He first appears fixing the chandelier but gives great insight to Ira and Marjorie about human relationships.One of his funniest lines is about a terrorist killing an associate by putting tiger whiskers in his hummus, "They made him shit himself to death." Also the cooking scene with Marjorie is a hoot, too.To say anymore about the show would ruin it for the audience. So for a terrific contemporary laugh out loud comedy, be sure to catch "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife" by Wellesley Players.

"The Tale of The Allergist's Wife" (20 - 29 January)
@ Arsenal Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal Street, WATERTOWN MA

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide