Amy Schumer photos by Matthew Murphy
By Eugene Paul
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
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
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,
Keegan Michael Key as Gerald, Jeremy Shamos
as Norm, Amy Schumer as Corky and Laura Benanti as Laura i
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.
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
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.
the Booth Theatre, 222 West 45th Street at Shubert Alley.
Tickets:$59-$169. 1 hr,30 min.212-239-6200. Thru Jan 21 2018.