Sets, David P. Gordon; costumes, Ramona Broomer; lighting, Martha Mountain. Opened, reviewed Nov. 25, 1997, at the Arden Theater; 196 seats; $ 28 top. Running time: 2 HOURS, 20 MIN.
Cast: Carla Belver (Muriel), Alda Cortese (Hazel), Suli Holum (Young Muriel), Kevin O’Donnell (Mike/Norm).
Using the game “Trivial Pursuit” as a major motif is like calling a musical “Titanic” — headlines almost writes themselves. The inconsequential “Tiny Island” wastes two fine actresses on a tedious script directed with a slow hand.
In the dingy old projection booth (the whir of the huge 35mm projectors is a constant irritation) of their father’s decrepit movie “palace,” two middle-aged sisters, estranged for years for reasons so trivial they hardly require revealing at the play’s climax, talk about their childhood game of imaginary flight. With the same scene staged over and over again, the flashback is so shallow a memory it disqualifies itself from interest.
There is some confused suggestion thatthe women’s mother was the Amelia Earhart of their fantasies, linked to an old romantic B movie called “Wings Over Water” in which the Earhart character sees a “tiny island” before she dies. We also learn that one sister married the other’s boyfriend, but when the 50 -year-old woman relives this memory with the 17-year-old boy, the show throws away its potential for daring by refusing to stage the love scene.
Filled with dialogue that explains each joke, and with trite lines (“Where do we go from here?”), this homage to old movies misses both comedy and nostalgia.