Review: ‘Misconduct Allowed’

Misconduct Allowed," written and directed by Minda Burr, slices into modern relationships to provide humor, angst and psychological observations. Superbly structured and finely detailed, the play misses only in one area.

Misconduct Allowed,” written and directed by Minda Burr, slices into modern relationships to provide humor, angst and psychological observations. Superbly structured and finely detailed, the play misses only in one area.

Benny (Peter Reckell), ostensibly a stand-up comic and a stud with a body to match, picks up women at the comedy clubs he works. Peachy (Susie Singer), a drummer in an all-girl band who loves wigs, and Louise (Marla Frees), an ex-stripper, come home with him to help him use up his economy-size pack of condoms.

Meanwhile, Natalie (Margaret Reed), a 35-year-old humorless psychotherapist, ends her relationship with Greg (Kenny Myles), a lawyer who babbles on about his work and who approaches romance as if guided by an auto repair manual.

Natalie explains to Greg that all her life she’s been so logical and well controlled in her relationships that for once she’d like to lose control and discover passion.

When Benny becomes impotent, he goes to Natalie for psychological help. The fun comes in seeing such opposites attracted.

Director-writer Minda Burr, a practicing hypnotherapist, reveals both her main characters’ psychological underpinnings and their childhood traumas. Natalie and Benny have kept their own relationships short and superficial.

That Burr is able to pull a lot of humor from such seriously treated roots speaks much about her talent. As director, she gives her cast wonderful bits of action that become comedic poetry.

Burr also has a knack for ending each scene on a strong line. The only weakness is Benny’s comedy routines. Benny has many funny lines, but Reckell — superb as a macho jerk and as the sensitive male he becomes — has no stage presence as a comedian.

Further, his character does not appear to have the kind of wit and analytical ability that a successful comedian would have. If he’s so emotionally shut down and blind, he’d have no material for comedy.

Margaret Reed chews into her role as the woman who coordinates her life down to each politically correct second. It’s fascinating to watch Natalie let herself go while her personality fights her.

Kenny Myles’ Greg, in many ways a worse cad than Benny, brings in many blows against the male of the species. He also has perhaps the funniest scene of the evening,popping in drunk on Natalie and her gay ex-neighbor Clennon (Tom Isbell).

Set designer Jeff Klarin makes good use of the wide stage. The sound and lights by Marc Ronsenthal are just as efficient and top class.

Misconduct Allowed

(Tiffany Theatre, West Hollywood; 99 seats; $ 18 top)

Production

Bradwood Prods. presents a comedy in two acts by Minda Burr. Directed by Burr; produced by Janice Ryan and Marla Frees.

Creative

Lighting, sound, Marc Ronsenthal; sets, Jeff Klarin. Reviewed Aug. 22, 1992.

Cast

Benny ... Peter Reckell Natalie ... Margaret Reed Greg ... Kenny Myles Peachy ... Susie Singer Louise ... Marla Frees Joyce ... Lynne Pirtle Clennon ... Tom Isbell Announcers ... Don Priess
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