×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Broadway Review: Amy Schumer in Steve Martin’s ‘Meteor Shower’

Amy Schumer’s choice delivery of Steve Martin’s one-liners prop up this endearingly gawky comedy about mirror-image married couples.

With:
Amy Schumer, Keegan-Michael Key, Laura Benanti, Jeremy Shamos.

Steve Martin has a flair for surreal comedy — a style that suits “Meteor Shower,” his new play about the existential mischief caused one night in 1993 when a deluge of meteors rains down on the boutique city of Ojai, Calif.  Before this singular night is through, two married couples will have gotten under each other’s skins, so to speak, and undergone major character transformations.

Corky (Amy Schumer, in an exuberant performance) and Norm (Jeremy Shamos, Mr. Reliable) are young marrieds who have been working on their relationship with alarming dedication. Should either of them speak out of line, they have a litany of face-to-face rituals for restoring marital harmony. “I love you and I know you love me,” says Corky, going into robotic “talking mode.” “I understand you probably didn’t know you hurt me. I’m asking you to be more careful with my feelings.”

Like the grownups they fancy themselves to be, Corky and Norm have decorated their home in Beowulf Boritt’s rendering of Mannered Modern and are dressed to match in costumer Ann Roth’s notion of ’90s chic. Now they have taken the plunge and invited another, more sophisticated couple over for dinner. Gerald (Keegan-Michael Key, of “Key & Peele,” a riveting presence) and Laura (the divine Laura Benanti) arrive at their door with trouble in mind and mischief in their hearts. “I’m feeling frisky,” says Laura. “So, how should we do this?” Gerald considers. “Let’s go for total collapse.”

Martin’s comic thesis is that Corky and Norm are so repressed, it takes a cosmic event on the scale of a meteor shower to unleash their inner selves.  “When I repress something, I push it way down and kick dirt over it,” Norm tells anyone who needs things spelled out. “If you don’t deal with your subconscious, it will deal with you,” Corky warns those same slow learners.

In the attractive physical forms of Benanti and Key, the couple’s inner selves emerge with the advent of the meteor showers and prove to be emotionally rapacious. In silken moves orchestrated by director Jerry Zaks, these alluring interlopers proceed to seduce the other couple, leaving them reeling from the experience. If meteors did, indeed, once bring life to our planet, then this meteor event – dramatically rendered in a starry night sky by Natasha Katz’s lighting design — is sure to liven up Corky and Norm.

Corky is first to lose her inhibitions and allow herself to be ravaged.  “It’s so easy and stress-free and relaxing, just to be completely insane,” she exclaims, in Schumer’s buoyant portrayal of sexual abandon. Presumably under the influence of the meteor showers, Corky even allows herself to fantasize a life without Norm. (“I can date! I can re-decorate!”) For their part, Benanti and Key revel in the marital mischief that Laura and Gerald unleash.

But clever lines and canny body language only get you so far, and there comes a point when this lightweight comedy just gives up and implodes on itself from lack of thought and direction. Clocking in at little more than an hour, “Meteor Shower” could use a few more scenes to get its head together.

Broadway Review: Amy Schumer in Steve Martin's 'Meteor Shower'

Booth Theater; 774 seats; $169 top. Opened Nov. 29, 2016. Reviewed Nov. 25. Running time: ONE HOUR, 20 MIN.

Production: A presentation by Joey Parnes, Sue Wagner, John Johnson, James L. Nederlander, The John Gore Organization, Scott Rudin, Eli Bush, FG Productions, Jamie deRoy, Sally Horchow, Sharon Karmazin, Barbara Manocherian, JABS Theatricals, Ergo Entertainment, Seth A. Goldstein, Elm City Productions, Diana DiMenna, Jay Alix & Una Jackman, Jennifer Manocherian, Cricket Jiranek, Catherine Adler & Marc David Levine, and The Shubert Organization of a play in one act by Steve Martin, originally produced by The Old Globe Theater and Long Wharf Theater.

Creative: Directed by Jerry Zaks. Sets, Beowulf Boritt; costumes, Ann Roth; lighting, Natasha Katz; sound, Fitz Patton; production stage manager, J. Jason Daunter.

Cast: Amy Schumer, Keegan-Michael Key, Laura Benanti, Jeremy Shamos.

More Legit

  • Hillary and Clinton review

    Broadway Review: Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow in 'Hillary and Clinton'

    If anyone could play Hillary Clinton, it’s Laurie Metcalf – and here she is, in Lucas Hnath’s “Hillary and Clinton,” giving a performance that feels painfully honest and true. And if anyone could capture Bill Clinton’s feckless but irresistible charm, that would be John Lithgow – and here he is, too. Who better to work [...]

  • Hadestown review

    Broadway Review: 'Hadestown'

    “Hadestown” triggered a lot of buzz when this wholly American show (which came to the stage by way of a concept album) premiered at Off Broadway’s New York Theatre Workshop in 2016. Arriving on Broadway with its earthly delights more or less intact, this perfectly heavenly musical — with book, music and lyrics by Anaïs [...]

  • Burn This review

    Broadway Review: Adam Driver, Keri Russell in 'Burn This'

    The ache for an absent artist permeates Lanford Wilson’s “Burn This,” now receiving a finely-tuned Broadway revival that features incendiary performances by Adam Driver and Keri Russell, playing two lost souls in a powerful and passionate dance of denial. AIDS is never mentioned in this 1987 play, yet the epidemic and the profound grief that [...]

  • White Noise Suzan-Lori Parks

    Listen: The 'Dumb Joke' Hidden in 'White Noise'

    Suzan-Lori Parks’ new play “White Noise” tackles a host of urgent, hot-button topics, including racism and slavery — but, according to the playwright, there’s also a “dumb joke” buried in it. Listen to this week’s podcast below: Appearing with “White Noise” director Oskar Eustis on “Stagecraft,” Variety‘s theater podcast, Parks revealed that the inspiration for [...]

  • Adam Driver appears at the curtain

    Adam Driver on Starring in 'Burn This' for a Second Time

    The Hudson Theatre’s new production of “Burn This” marks its first Broadway revival since it premiered on the Great White Way in 1987, but Adam Driver is no stranger to the work. He starred as Pale in a Juilliard production of the Lanford Wilson drama when he was still a student — and only now, [...]

  • Alan Wasser

    Alan Wasser, Tony-Winning Broadway General Manager, Dies at 70

    Alan Wasser, a veteran Broadway general manager who received an honorary Tony Award, died from complications from Parkinson’s disease in New York on Sunday. He was 70. Wasser founded Alan Wasser Associates and general managed “Les Misérables,” “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Miss Saigon,” three of the most successful productions of all time. He [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content