Script shallow but laughs flow in 'Regrets'

2013-02-21T00:00:00Z Script shallow but laughs flow in 'Regrets'Kathleen Allen Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 21, 2013 12:00 am  • 

We've a few regrets about "Regrets Only," now on stage at Live Theatre Workshop.

None of them are with this production, which has pulled together some of the Old Pueblo's strongest actors.

Rather, it is with the Paul M. Rudnick script, which gets preachy and lacks depth.

The story centers on marriage, what it is, what it's worth. The script is thin, thin, thin. But the characters are funny, funny, funny.

There's the socialite Tibby (Lesley Abrams), whose husband Jack (Michael Woodson) is a big to-do in lawyerly circles. Tibby's best friend, Hank (Keith Wick) is a big to-do in the fashion world. Daughter Spencer (Amanda Gremel) is a young lawyer and a bride-to-be. Marietta (Pat Timm) is Tibby's class-conscious mom. Tibby's and Jack's maid Myra (Rhonda Hallquist) is a sort of Inspector Clouseau character (of "Pink Panther" fame) in that she keeps transforming who she is - a French woman one moment, a German spy the next, and whatever else strikes her fancy.

When gathered in Jack and Tibby's tony Park Avenue apartment, Jack gets a call from the president asking him to help draft the Defense of Marriage act.

Hank, who lost his lover a few months earlier, is taken aback. Spencer sees it as a chance to advance her career and pushes off her wedding to sign up as Jack's assistant. Tibby just wonders if it's cold enough outside to wear a bracelet.

Hallquist was a total hoot in the ridiculous role of the maid, owning several accents and not one bit afraid of over-the-top humor.

Abrams delivery as a haughty socialite with little political awareness but a biting wit was a winning one.

All the actors, in fact, embraced this comedy of manners and saw to it that Rudnick's humor was given a full airing.

While the first act rolled along, the second started at a very high pitch, giving the actors nowhere to go. That seemed to be the fault of the playwright rather than the director, Sabian Trout. It made for an act of almost constant hysteria rather than one that built to a climax.

Rudnick questions marriage, but also hammers hard with the impact made on society by gays and lesbians.

The trouble is, he became heavy-handed with the message. But ... he made us laugh. Very hard. Who can complain about that?

Review

• What: Live Theatre Workshop's production of "Regrets Only."

• Playwright: Paul Rudnick.

• Director: Sabin Trout.

• When: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays through March 24.

• Where: 5317 E. Speedway.

• Cost: $18.

• Reservations, information: 327-4242.

• Run time: 2 hours, with one intermission.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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