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A CurtainUp Review
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It starts, as these things do, on Christmas Eve. We're at a skuzzy motel in Nowhere, Virginia. A grandma is dead, and her body, naturally, is missing. But this isn't a murder mystery, remember, this is a romantic comedy. So get ready for this situation to be milked for its fullest comic potential (not much) for the next hour and 45 minutes.
To help us do that, here's Terrence (Sheffield Chastain), the hapless delivery man who's responsible for this zany screw-up. And here's Ayelet (Charlotte Cohn), the very distraught adult Israeli granddaughter of this woman, who doesn't really speak English, but nonetheless wants some answers. And here's Josh, Terrence's sweatered Jewish American friend, who may be just sensible enough and just Jewish enough to both diffuse this situation and woo this spirited Semitic broad.
And of course, the pieces are all in place here for that to happen. Ayelet is grieving the loss of her grandmother and a breakup with some lug back in the Promised Land. Josh is still mourning his wife, who died tragically a year and a half ago. Now, did I mention they're both Jewish? And single? And trapped in a motel room in Virginia on a blizzardy Christmas Eve?
Oh, there are laughs to be had, sure. Josh and Ayelet are dorky in a very controlled, mannered way (You've got to hear Josh's Owen Wilson impression —classic). Edna (the lovely Carol Lawrence), who we meet in flashbacks to the day before, is a hoot, in the very particular way that Israeli grandmothers who get excited about Wheel of Fortune are a hoot. And Terrance, that lovable Southern clown, is bound to have the Upper West Side set in stitches. The guy just simply can't wrap his head around the idea of the Jewish calendar, or really anything Jewish for that matter. Silly Terrance.
Like the good seasonal play that it is, the whole thing ends on a note of redemption, warmth and holiday cheer. There's even a family secret, and a crazy coincidence that might just blow the yarmulke right off your head. Or is it not really a coincidence at all, but rather a miracle?
Yes, I suppose it's a miracle. Why not? It's that time of year, and this is that type of play. Take your aunt to see it. Heck, take your whole mishpocha and then go to the Carnegie Deli afterward. Or, if you're not one of the chosen people, you can see it and then check out the tree at Rockefeller Center, though I'm not sure why you would do that. Who am I to say, though? Do what you like! It's the holidays! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! God bless us, everyone!