“The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife” is a smart, funny play that takes a dark, yet delicious swipe at the core of the well-intentioned, well-heeled residents of Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
While the Lyric Stage Company’s production of playwright Charles Busch’s most mainstream play to date does generate laughs, it’s sorely missing the requisite bite that gives this spoof of the faux-sophisticated, liberal elite its gumption.
Director Larry Coen seems to be playing nice with this material and the result is an intermittently funny, sophomoric adaptation that feels a bit too much like a dated Neil Simon – Marsha Mason retread.
Perhaps the ensemble should’ve visited this tony New York City enclave to get a feel for its inhabitants. Ellen Colton’s Frieda feels like a South Shore Nana in a bad gray wig, much too reminiscent of Vicki Lawrence’s infamous character Mama. She should look more like the late, great Joan Rivers.
Marina Re settles in nicely as Marjorie after a rocky start with over-the-top ranting about her sad state of existence that feels like a scene from “Real Housewives of New Jersey.” Joel Colodner perfectly captures the God-like ego crisis of the Allergist Ira, while Zaven Ovian delivers a solid performance as their doorman Mohammed.
Caroline Lawton is too young and sexually charged to play Marjorie’s old friend Lee. Her excessive flirtation feels contrived and ruins a big moment she shares by making the surprise so obvious a child could see it coming.
A play of this nature requires crisp, flawless execution by rigid characters right out of central casting. When they don’t deliver, you’re left with a play that’s smarter than its production.
If you go
“The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife”
Through Dec. 20
140 Clarendon St., Boston
$25 - $66