×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Connecticut Theater Review: ‘Meteor Shower’ by Steve Martin

With:
Arden Myrin, Patrick Breen, Josh Stamberg, Sophina Brown.

“I don’t know what’s going on but I’ll just go along with it,” a character says in Steve Martin’s “Meteor Shower,” opening at New Haven’s Long Wharf Theater following a summer co-production at San Diego’s Old Globe. That’s good advice for audiences, too. Figuring out this cosmic comedy from the master of the American absurd can result, as it does for one of the characters in the piece, in “brain explosions.” So sure, there are some rethinks and rewinds along the way in this brisk evening of couples therapy, especially in the post-post-modern second act. But this loopy satire of marriage, sex and the inner id still provides lots of laughs — and another likely staple for theaters that found success with Martin’s two earlier plays.

Director Gordon Edelstein, whose Long Wharf production of Martin’s “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” was a delight a few seasons back, again empowers a terrific cast that embraces Martin’s wild, crazy and yet oh-so-familiar universe. Just watch out for those careening meteorites. They can change everything.

The comedy begins by playfully making gentle sport of Norm (Patrick Breen) and Corky (Arden Myrin), a couple so aware of their own and each other’s sensitivities that they perform a silly, soothing ritual every time their feelings are slightly bruised. That might settle surface tensions, but deep down inside there are other selves eager to break free.

They do in the form of Gerald (Josh Stamberg) and Laura (Sophina Brown), an intense couple Norm has invited over to watch a meteor shower under clear skies from their upscale Ojai, Calif. home in 1993, stylishly designed by Michael Yeargan.

The hyper-alpha Gerald and the slinky Laura are guests that both trouble and titillate Corky and Norm, who perhaps see something in themselves in them — a heightened version of their repressed selves. As the more-willing-to-change Corky says, “If you don’t deal with your self-conscious, it will deal with you.”

It does, in a major way, when the guests take command of their hosts. Think of “Who’s Afraid if Virginia Woolf?” if Nick and Honey turned the tables on George and Martha.

Things get even stranger when worlds collide. The second act deals with a narrative leap that is as fantastic as it is funny, yet ends satisfyingly with a hug-with-a-twist.

Still, there are a few instances that don’t quite jive with Martin’s jam-packed big-bang theories. (The cannibalism angle early on certainly provokes laughs, but makes more sense in the second act lunacy.)

But even amid the head-scratching, it’s a pleasure watching how Martin probes the fault line of marriage, social dynamics and cultural swings. (“Crying is so manly — currently,” says the ever-aware Gerard.) And it takes an ear for the absurd to make hay out of the phrase “car shampoo caddy” on multiple go-rounds or to find linguistic fun in “Is that a non sequitur or just a sequitur?”

The show could have easily veered off the tracks without the deft quartet of performers that stay steady in Martin’s outer-limit orbit. Stamberg (the only cast member from the Old Globe run) nails the machismo posturing; Brown is as dry and delicious as a top-shelf martini and Breen as the go-along everyman has a deadpan that goes beyond words. But it’s Myrin’s Corky who best captures the madness, as she comes to terms with her inner and outer selves and the comic cosmic conjunction of these two very different worlds.

Connecticut Theater Review: 'Meteor Shower' by Steve Martin

Long Wharf Theatre, New Haven, Conn.; 408 seats; $94 top. Opened, reviewed Oct. 8, 2016. Continues through Oct. 23 Running time: TWO HOURS.

Production: A Long Wharf Theater/Old Globe presentation of a play in two acts written by Steve Martin.

Creative: Directed by Gordon Edelstein. Set, Michael Yeargan; costumes, Jess Goldstein; lighting, Donald Holder; original music and sound, John Gromada; production stage manager, Kathy Snyder.

Cast: Arden Myrin, Patrick Breen, Josh Stamberg, Sophina Brown.

More Legit

  • Dear Evan Hansen

    Broadway Cast Albums Find Fresh Footing With Hip New Sounds, Viral Outreach

    Mixtapes. YouTube videos. Dedicated playlists. Ancillary products. Viral marketing. Epic chart stays. These are things you expect to hear from a record label discussing Cardi B or Beyoncé. Instead, this is the new world of a very old staple, the Broadway original cast recording. Robust stats tell the tale: Atlantic’s “Hamilton” album beat the record [...]

  • Ali Stroker Oklahoma

    Ali Stroker on 'Oklahoma!': 'This Show Doesn’t Follow the Rules and That Is So Who I Am'

    Ali Stroker is no stranger to rewriting history. With her 2015 Broadway debut in “Spring Awakening,” she became the first actor in a wheelchair to perform on the Great White Way. Three years later, she’s back onstage in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” as Ado Annie, the flirtatious local who splits her affections between a resident [...]

  • Hadestown Broadway

    'Hadestown': Inside the Musical's 12-Year Odyssey to Broadway

    “Hadestown’s” 12-year journey to Broadway was an odyssey in its own right.  Singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell’s buzzy musical, a folk-operatic retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus, a musician who ventures to the underworld to rescue his fiancée, Eurydice, was in development for more than a decade before arriving on the New York stage. The show [...]

  • Elaine May in The Waverly Gallery

    Playwright Kenneth Lonergan on the Genius of His 'Waverly Gallery' Star Elaine May

    When Elaine May agreed to be in my play, “The Waverly Gallery,” naturally I was ecstatic. I had admired her as a director, writer, actor and sketch comedian since high school, when my friend Patsy Broderick made me listen to the album “Nichols and May Examine Doctors.” I didn’t know then that I had already seen Elaine’s [...]

  • Lisbeth R Barron Investment Banker

    Investment Banker Lisbeth R. Barron on How She Became a Broadway Deal Specialist

    If you want to get a deal done on Broadway, call Lisbeth R. Barron. Barron is a veteran investment banker who launched her own shingle, Barron Intl. Group, in 2015. She has brokered a slew of deals throughout her career — which has included stops at S.G. Warburg and Bear Stearns — involving companies and [...]

  • The Lion King Frozen Disney on

    Disney Theatrical Celebrates 25 Years on Broadway

    The Disney brand is known worldwide for its family-friendly entertainment with a flair for magic, music and spectacle, but when its adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast” hit Broadway in 1994, success wasn’t guaranteed. Variety’s positive review by Jeremy Gerard noted, “It will almost certainly be met with varying levels of derision by Broadway traditionalists.” [...]

  • The Prom Broadway

    'The Prom': How the Little Show That Could Found Its Way to the Tonys Dance

    Does a Broadway musical still count as an underdog if it’s got über-producer Ryan Murphy in its corner? It does if it’s “The Prom,” the labor of love from a team of Broadway veterans that’s carving out a place for itself as an original story on a street full of familiar titles and well-known brands. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content