Ninety minutes of quick-change, door-slamming, mixed-class, sexually liberated 17th century farce sounds like so much fun. Unless, like the Lyric Stage Company’s current production of “Or,” you’re making it feel like nearly sleep-inducing slow motion.
Everything about this show feels like it’s suffering from malaise. The timing is off, the performances are underwhelming and even the slamming of doors lacks the crisp, authoritative thud to make it funny.
Part of the problem is that Stacy Fischer’s Aphra Behn is dull right from the start. A one-time spy aspiring to be the first female playwright should have a spark in her eyes, deception in her demeanor and a feisty fire in her belly. Fischer feels more like a virginal librarian than a sizzling art-ist whose thirst for life includes a female lover and a three-way with the King of England.
Ro’ee Levi fares better in all the male roles, though he never feels fully commits to the play’s farcical aspects.
Hannah Husband delivers most of the show’s good moments in the remaining female roles. She is at her best (and funniest) as the all-knowing British domestic.
Perhaps she can put on a pot of coffee and bring the others up to speed.
Upon being freed from debtor’s prison, former spy Aphra Behn sets her sights on becoming the first female playwright. Along the way she becomes the King’s mistress, takes a mistress of her own and tries to deal with a heavy-drinking ex that everyone thinks is dead.