A gentle laxative of a play about two alter cockers who get their orthopedic groove back when a smooth-talking gigolo invades their beds and bank accounts, the pleasures and tediums of “Bermuda Avenue Triangle” are the same: Renee Taylor and Joe Bologna, who wrote, directed and star in this harmless geriatric sex comedy.
Underneath this out-of-breath but well-intentioned comedy, however, is a genuine outrage at the perception that older women have to be “dealt with” in their later years (that is, when their children are grown and their husbands have died).
Taylor, as the fur-coated Fannie Saperstein, is the main attraction. With her dithery, bubble-gum voice and girlish skips around the set, this septuagenarian hoofer conjures the golden age of variety, a “Merv Griffin Show” archive in a blonde wig and ankle socks.
Beleaguered daughters Angela (Tricia Leigh Fisher) and Rita (Rita McKenzie) have purchased a mid-priced Las Vegas condo for their cranky, widowed mothers. But when Saperstein and bunion-challenged Tess LaRuffa (Lainie Kazan) step out of the sweltering Nevada heat into their new bamboo-decor digs, they are (hilariously) underwhelmed. “I always wanted to live in the Tiki Room,” Taylor deadpans.
Just when they’re ready to stomp home to cooler climes, an aging Lothario named Johnny Paolucci (Joe Bologna) saves them from a would-be purse-snatcher. Noticing that his suit is a decent silk-wool blend, their curiosities — and libidos — are aroused, and soon both women have gone geisha: massaging his feet, ironing his shirts, and sending him off to the spa, while Johnny earns his microdermabrasion by servicing each matron, unbeknownst to the other.
Play previously spent time Off Broadway and in smaller L.A. venues, and now settles in for a summer run at the Brentwood. It feels more like 1950s Catskills, however, as “Bermuda’s” hoary jokes and pregnant pauses are as predictable and overdone as your grandmother’s pot roast.
Taylor’s outrageous monologue to Johnny, cataloging her endless misfortunes, is a compendium of a life in showbiz, an expert’s guide to comic delivery, and certainly the high point in an otherwise flabby evening.
As Tess, Kazan leaves no Italian Catholic cliché unplayed, but has an irrefutable presence. Bologna, more graceful with his physique than his line readings, is more a mirror for the women’s elaborate displays than an actual character. And as a harassed rabbi with a penchant for loud shorts, Manny Kleinmuntz walks off with his every scene on some very spindly shins.
The production moves at the pace of a marathon bingo game, and there were distracting microphone problems on the night reviewed.