Less convincing are Josh Mostel and Steve Hofvendahl’s Shem and Ham, Mostel too much of a buffoon to be taken seriously as a striving businessman, Hofvendahl too much the lout and too little the rake to go over as a lothario. Lorraine Serabian has an apt sense of entitlement as Shem’s wife Leah, and Molly Scott is brassy as Goldie, the ark’s woman with a past (and she gets Theoni V. Aldredge’s funniest costume of the evening).
Best, however, in a pair of equally touching performances, are David Aaron Baker and Joanna Going, he as the headstrong Japheth — so repulsed by God’s plan he has to be conked to go on the ark — she as Rachel, Ham’s misused wife and the object of Japheth’s affection. (It all works out in the end.)
Ray Recht’s settings are tacky, though that impression owes in part to several pretty clunky changes, and Richard Nelson’s lighting is fine. The overall effect is modest, and how could it be otherwise, with such modest material?
Nevertheless, there’s something to be said for a rep company investigating works such as this, and for a loving couple of the theater to play a loving couple in the theater.