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Meteor Shower

Amy Schumer                              photos by  Matthew Murphy




                By Eugene Paul  



A Christmas tree full of producers have snuggled together to  make the Yuletide bright by bringing Steve Martin’s newest theater opus to Broadway  all atwinkle with the latest AC/DC currents Amy Schumer, Keegan-Michael Key, Laura Benanti and Jeremy Shamos, aglow with set designer Beowulf Boritt’s athletic Ojai dwelling, Ann Roth’s festively mock normal costumes, lighting designer Natasha Katz’s  delicious meteor showers and Fitz Patton’s witty sound design.  They ‘re missing a bulb or two but those are in Martin’s noggin. He’s never made those connections.  It’s his trademark charm: mind the gap. Or maybe it’s mindless the gap. You know, a sparkle here, a sparkle there, you supply any linkage.


 It’s 1993. Corky (adorable Amy) and Norm ( sweetly frazzled Jeremy) have invited new Ojai neighbors Laura ( total wowser Laura) and Gerald ( cunningly mad Keegan-Michael) for Ojai food and Ojai drink in their dream Ojai home during that rarity only Ojaiers enjoy, their heavenly spectacle, meteor showers, fraught with symbolism only don’t ask what symbols.  Spiritualism, health food, New Age shoppes, art galleries, music festivals have lured droves of toilers in the movie biz,  yearners for country ways, to the lovely Ojai Valley resting  peacefully in the Topatopa Mountains north of Hollywoodland.  Here, they are at Home. AAaahh. Here they can enjoy being who they are. Here, they are sympathetically, well, sort of, skewered by Steve Martin.  Which is why we are here, too.


Corky, you know, adorable Amy, has a delightful cuddlesome roundness to her which simply invites wanting to pinch parts of her, touch parts of her, all screamingly out of bounds these parlous pervert days, thus heightening director Jerry Zaks’s  sensitivities regarding her every move, especially in light of the personal facts that playwright Martin loads her up with.  Can you imagine, this bundle of utter normalcy, well, almost,  is only here because at one time, in direst of circumstances, she forced herself to adopt temporary cannibalism in order to stay alive? Yes.  Corky and Norm have combined their lives in truly open and honest ways, no secrets, not hidden worries, not hidden angst, everything out in the open.  So that when Norm looks at his adorable Corky, he also sees Corky the Cannibal and has to digest that thought in the healthiest, happiest way.


Keegan Michael Key as Gerald, Jeremy Shamos as Norm, Amy Schumer as Corky and Laura Benanti as Laura i


Which mindset in no way prepares him for Gerald. Talk about open.  At the top of his lungs, yet, And Free? How free can you get? When he asks Corky to fix him a martini, which is a Big Deal when she does it,  while he’s waiting – he’s gotten Laura to go outside and do her thing with Norm on the chaises longues,  during Corky’s itsy bitsy arcane booze  processing, Gerald cannot simply sit and wait, he shoots up. Slowly, carefully. Meticulously, all behind her back.  Howls of laughter from the totally, willingly engrossed audience.


Stunningly beautiful, seductive Laura makes mincemeat of Norm, who’s been so busy being a nice guy all his life he’s  laughingly vulnerable despite wriggles and wiles, hers and his, untangling and tangling. And when Gerald and Laura depart, you know that Corky and Norm have been well and truly, oh, you know what word comes next.


Now what? I didn’t even mention any spoilers.  Easy.  Steve Martin runs back his clock. (He does it a couple of times just for fun.) (This time, it’s not only for fun but  play machination.) Neighbors call and warn Corky and Norm that their dinner guests, Laura and Gerald, are dangerousy wacko and to watch out. And so now, us having experienced that  bouquet of shivers and laughter of the original Gerald and Laura, we are going to see and experience what wised up Norm and Corky can do to protect body and soul and property. Director Zaks and  company  enact playwright Martin’s entire outrageously  no bounds agenda, which is, of course, exactly why we’re here.  And in this era of tastelessness and no bounds, that’s quite a challenge. How shall I put it: everyone succeeds.  There. More than one way to build a hot ticket.


Meteor Shower. At the Booth Theatre, 222 West 45th Street at Shubert Alley. Tickets:$59-$169. 1 hr,30 min.212-239-6200. Thru Jan 21 2018.