Quite a tale of ‘The Allergist’s Wife’ - 4-1/2 out of 5 Stars!
It's easy to see that Marjorie is depressed. She's slumped on a couch wearing a blue robe that matches her disposition and she has no intention of changing her clothes no matter what the time of day or night.
Her husband, Dr. Ira Taub, a prominent doctor, an allergist, tries to help, but he is so busy and so fulfilled in his work, volunteerism, and teaching that it makes Marjorie feel all the more depressed. Quite simply Marjorie is not fulfilled, and she's miserable.
Her mother Freida, who lives down the hall, doesn't help either. Freida is a chronic complainer who continually talks about her constipation, digestion and rectal problems —usually during dinner. To make matters worse, Marjorie's beloved shrink has died.
The title character is definitely in a slump. Her family can't even mention the word "depression" or "mental" without getting an angry and passionate lecture from Marjorie. Just when it looks like there's no helping her, an old friend, Lee, suddenly shows up.
Lee is like a spark plug. She ignites Marjorie's passion for adventure. Getting dressed she and her friend are ready to shop. In licketysplit time, Marjorie is not only up and about, but generating a whole new lifestyle.
Her friend Lee is a worldwide traveler who has rubbed elbows with everyone from Princess Diana to Russian leader Gorbachev. Marjorie is so impressed that she is eager to go everywhere with the name-dropping Lee. However, neither Ira nor Freida has ever met Lee andthey get suspicious of her existence.
Even the doorman, Mohammed, gets involved. He denies seeing Lee at the Taub's ritzy Upper West Side apartment. The play's set up is complete.
Charles Busch's "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife" is a fun-packed comedy and very much like Neil Simon in as much as there are plenty of one-liners and everyone knows someone like the characters in this tale.
What really makes this play stand out are the unexpected events that shock the audience. There's a lot of adult talk and situations in this play and plenty of action to keep an audience intrigued.
You just never know what is going to happen next, but when it happens, hold on to your seat.
M.J. Hartell creates humor and at the same time draws compassion in her genuinely portrayed trusting and somewhat naïve character. Jody Bayer as Freida nearly steals the show with her rapid-fire hilarious comments. Mitchell Prywes as the goody two-shoes doctor does a fine job and Rosemary Howard, appearing courtesy of Actor's Equity Association, adds mystery and sexual tension to the production.
Matt Austin completes the cast with a sincerity that comes across as if he believes everything he is saying. He's a riot.
Director Debbie Levin, who has obviously probed deeply into the heart of this play, has succeeded in presenting a comedy that speaks volumes about women's issues at the turn of the new century.
The gorgeous set designed by Richard Pettibone not only depicts an apartment of wealthy New Yorkers, but this posh apartment has quite a view. The production is most inviting and plays through Sunday.