A fascinating story and a talented ensemble seem like a winning combo. Unfortunately, the Lyric Stage Company can't seem to make it work in their interminably dull production of "The Temperamentals."
The story of the creation of an early 1950s underground gay-rights organization is rife with dramatic potential, sexual tension and an overriding sense of danger. At a time when "temperamental" was a secret code word for homosexual and men were encouraged to marry women to save their reputations, a cultural revolution began to change history.
Director Jeremy Johnson never comes close to capturing any of the intrigue, risk or excitement of this movement. Instead, the story plays like a bland history lesson, void of the kind of palpable sense of secrecy that would create an emotional roller-coaster ride.
Part of the problem is the lack of chemistry between the show's leads Will McGarrahan and Nael Nacer. McGarrahan is fine as the flamboyant, married man who started the revolution, and Nacer is good as the finicky European designer who marries a woman to make his career. But when they're together, there's no hint of the spark that would make them flirt with risking it all for love.
Steve Kidd brings the most life to the production as the ex-cop whose entrapment for lewd and lascivious behavior (cruising a public restroom) makes him the face of the cause. But even his arrest feels bland and distant. This subject should be both upsetting and uplifting. Sadly, it is neither.
If you go
Through April 28
140 Clarendon St., Boston