Saturday, November 12, 2011

Boca Raton Theatre Guild: The Tale of the Allergist's Wife (3 reviews)

The Boca Raton Theatre Guild opened its production of Charles Busch's The Tale of the Allergist's Wife at the Willow Theatre on November 5th, 2011.
Marjorie Taub: shopaholic, avid reader, loved by her devoted husband...but her beloved psychiatrist has just died, her mother obsesses about her gastric tract and her husband is now retired and devoted to sinus infections for the homeless.

After a breakdown in the Disney store...what is Marjorie to do?

Enter her friend from the past, Lee Greene...who has a few secrets of her own!
Genie Croft Directed a cast that included Patti Gardner, Barbara Sloan, Michael Beecher, Yusuf Rathore, and Iris Acker.

Hap Erstein reviewed for Palm Beach ArtsPaper:
Still trying to establish its status as a professional theater company, Boca Raton Stage Guild makes a major move in that direction with the selection of Charles Busch’s boulevard comedy, The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, and the casting of two South Florida veteran actresses, Patti Gardner and Barbara Sloan, in the leading roles.
While the play has plenty of humor, director Genie Croft pushes it unnecessarily into the realm of sitcom. Sure, Marjorie’s gastrointestinally obsessed mom (Iris Acker) is a string of punch lines, but the rest of cast seems to have been encouraged to pitch their performances far broader than desirable.

Nevertheless, The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife is a cut above the usual community theater fare, and so is the Stage Guild’s production.
Mary Damiano reviewed for Florida Theater On Stage:
The mid-life crisis of an upper West Side dilettante is brought to life in Charles Busch’s comic hit The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, now receiving a handsome production by the Boca Raton Theatre Guild.
Patti Gardner is believable as Marjorie, mining the melodrama in mid-life crisis. Gardner is the perfect counterpoint to Barbara Sloan’s vivacious Lee, who, in Sloan’s hands, could believably seduce a celibate and sell ham to a Hassidic.
Iris Acker excels at this with razor sharp comic timing and put-upon old lady feistiness.  Michael Beecher nails the long-suffering uber-understanding routine but fails to find the humor in Ira’s self-grandiose lines about serving the poor through his allergy clinic.
While the first act drags with exposition, director Genie Croft steps up the pace in the second act, and the show soars when Gardner, Beecher, Sloan and Acker are on stage together.  Their interplay is worth the price of admission and make this production one to see.
Rod Stafford Hagwood reviewed wrote for theSun-Sentinel:
As good as much of "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife" is — and there is an awful lot to fall in "like" with here in the Boca Raton Theatre Guild production — the play just can't wrench itself away from a strong sitcom feel.
It comes in crystal clear when the comedy's center, Marjorie Taub (played by Patti Gardner, who could unwrap it a bit more)...
Wait; did he just suggest that Ms. Gardner should strip?
It isn't the actors' fault; all of them could chisel out some more laughs from the shale rock of Charles Busch's script, which hands them dialogue that often sounds like a series of one-liners. But if they went for the bigger yucks — mugging and camping it up like some of Busch's earlier scripts — then director Genie Croft would have to shed the satire-light feel and dive head first into the sitcom seas. It would be a trap, causing the ephemeral ending to feel even more like a commercial break.
The Boca Raton Theatre Guild production of The Tale of the Allergist's Wife plays at the Willow Theater through November 20, 2011.

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