×
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.

Popular on Variety

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

  • Secret Derren Brown review

    Broadway Review: 'Derren Brown: Secret'

    Audiences love to be fooled, whether it’s with clever plotting with a twist, the arrival of an unexpected character or even a charming flimflam man with a British accent. The latter is Derren Brown, and he’s entertaining audiences for a limited run at the Cort Theatre, where he is playing head-scratching mind games and other [...]

  • Matthew Broderick, Sarah Jessica ParkerNew York

    Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker to Reunite on Broadway for 'Plaza Suite'

    Real-life couple Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker are hitting the Broadway stage again for a reboot of the late Neil Simon’s 1968 play “Plaza Suite.” The staging will mark the Broadway directorial debut of Tony award-winner John Benjamin Hickey. Set in New York City’s Plaza Hotel in Suite 719, “Plaza Suite” is comprised of [...]

  • Derren Brown

    Listen: Derren Brown Spills His Broadway 'Secret'

    Derren Brown has spent a lot of his career performing magic shows on theater stages — but he’ll be the first to tell you that magic usually doesn’t make for great theater. Listen to this week’s podcast below: “If you’re a magician of any sort, you can make stuff happen with a click of your [...]

  • A Very Expensive Poison review

    London Theater Review: 'A Very Expensive Poison'

    Vladimir Putin owes his power to the stage. The president’s closest advisor trained as a theatre director before applying his art to politics, and ran Russia like a staged reality, spinning so many fictions that truth itself began to blur. By scrambling the story and sowing confusion, Putin could exert absolute control. The long-awaited latest [...]

  • Betrayal review Tom Hiddleston

    Broadway Review: 'Betrayal' With Tom Hiddleston

    and Zawe Ashton as a long-married couple and Charlie Cox as the secret lover. Director Jamie Lloyd’s impeccable direction — now on Broadway, after a hot-ticket London run — strips Pinter’s 1978 play to its bare bones: the excruciating examination of the slow death of a marriage.  It’s a daring approach, leaving the characters nowhere [...]

  • Jayne Houdyshell arrives at the 71st

    'The Music Man' Revival Adds Four Tony Winners to Broadway Cast

    Tony Award-winners Jayne Houdyshell, Jefferson Mays, Marie Mullen and Shuler Hensley will join stars Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster in the upcoming Broadway revival of “The Music Man.” In “The Music Man,” Jackman will play con-man Harold Hill, who arrives in a small, fictional Iowa town called River City and urges the townsfolk to start [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content