Gay marriage battles become fodder for drawing-room comedy in Regrets Only | Theater | Indy Week
Pin It

Gay marriage battles become fodder for drawing-room comedy in Regrets Only 

Humankind, as T.S. Eliot noted, cannot bear too much reality. Thus was the drawing-room comedy invented. But where the gentilities of the genre once focused on the crustier peccadillos of the British and American upper crust (in the works of Coward and Wilde), REGRETS ONLY, Paul Rudnick's 2006 entry, turns its frivolous attentions to gay marriage and other long-delayed political and social comings-of-age among the Park Avenue set. The uneven result inverts Wilde's alternate title for The Importance of Being Earnest. It's a serious comedy about trivial people.

Hank Hadley (robust Rick Meadows), the most accomplished fashion designer in New York, is just emerging from months of mourning after the passing of his long-term partner when he's confronted with an inconvenient fact. Jack (a game Michael Brocki), the husband of Hank's party partner and confidante, Tibby (veteran Lynda Clark), has been summoned to the White House by President Bush to craft a constitutional ban on marriage equality. Up to now, Hank and Tibby have been narcissistically apolitical—and are encouraged to remain that way by Jack and Tibby's daughter, Spencer (sparkling Lori Ingle Taylor).

You can imagine how well that advice goes down. Rudnick's script is simply riddled with devastating comebacks, quips and one-liners—a saving grace for a work whose deadly political earnestness balances on a sometimes forced lightheartedness, as Dylan once put it, like a mattress on a bottle of wine.

Given the level of achievement among this top-drawer cast, there are few theatrical missteps here. Clark graces Thomas Mauney's sumptuous set in drop-dead gorgeous costumes by Susan Smith and Shawn Stewart-Larson, as Taylor gratifyingly morphs into a true bridezilla. Director Ira David Wood IV seems uncertain only when it comes to Cameron West's role as Myra, the ever-wisecracking and upstaging maid.

Six years after its premiere, marriage equality continues to be bitterly fought to the doors of the Supreme Court—and, in Alabama, apparently beyond. Regrets Only gamely tries to sugar its clumsy proselytizing with a bevy of well-written japes. We're weeks away from a potential Supreme Court decision. Perhaps it will be easier to smile when this particular war is over.

This article appeared in print with the headline "Imperfect Recall"

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Theater



Twitter Activity

Comments

your 20 sept review of playmakers current offering missed the boat, big time. the play portrayed all the characters as …

by Pointyhead on The Cake Edits Reality to Ignore the Everyday Consequences of Bible Belt Homophobia (Theater)

Oh, I'd be amused even without the in-jokes. These folks are having a great time, and the setting is transportive. …

by needsomeokra on Wants Upon a Time Is a Commedia Dell'arte Interrogation of What Happily Ever After Really Means (Theater)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

your 20 sept review of playmakers current offering missed the boat, big time. the play portrayed all the characters as …

by Pointyhead on The Cake Edits Reality to Ignore the Everyday Consequences of Bible Belt Homophobia (Theater)

Oh, I'd be amused even without the in-jokes. These folks are having a great time, and the setting is transportive. …

by needsomeokra on Wants Upon a Time Is a Commedia Dell'arte Interrogation of What Happily Ever After Really Means (Theater)

The photo credit is incorrect. The photo was taken and edited by Areon Mobasher for Burning Coal Theatre Company. Please …

by Areon Mobasher on The Greeks Streamlines Sophocles’s Theban Trilogy Into Three Nimble, Strikingly Modern One-Acts (Theater)

I'm wondering why Dorfman specifically chose the Death and the Maiden quartet - deriving from the song Der Tod und …

by trishmapow on Forgiving is not forgetting in Ariel Dorfman's Death and the Maiden (Theater)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation