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A CurtainUp Mini Review:
When introduced during the 1990
season of the Manhattan Theatre Club, Alan Ayckbourn's tea party from hell was extended twice.
This season Ayckbourn's sad/funny sextet of middle class men and women has been given a
limited run production by Perkasie Productions. The comedy drama takes place on a single
afternoon during which the personal miseries and relationships of the players are peeled away
layer by layer. The tea party at the home of Di and Paul is occasioned by the death drowning of
the fiancee of Colin. Nobody in the group has seen or heard from for three years and one has in
fact never met him. As it turns out, each member of the assembled group, is in need of
consolation for their lost dreams and and disintegrating marriages. More so than Colin who has
the kind of innocence that probably attracted Alan Ayckbourn to P.G. Wodehoues's "Jeeves"
stories (a musical version written by Ayckbourn and Andrew Lloyd Webber and directed by
Ayckbourn is Broadway bound). What's more, his rose-colored view of life and loss exacerbates
their own miseries, causing the most fragile member of the group to descend to the very brink of
madness. Tony Cormier brings the necessary "other worldly" goofiness to the part of Colin and
Janice Hoffman portrays Di with the proper degree of tension pushing its way through a smiling
facade. Yet, neither Cormier or Hoffman, or the other competent players, are able to turn the
evening into a
memorable one. The timing is too often off. The set is too chintzy, lacking even one prop to
suggest the home of a couple who are thriving financially but failing miserably in every other way.
on extensions with this production which closes November 10th!
Meisner, 164 11th Avenue
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