Long Wharf Theatre
Long Wharf Theatre is currently presenting the world premiere of Steve Martin’s play, “Meteor Shower,” which is a frequently hilarious, thoroughly strange new comedy. Think of a weird hybrid of , say, “Modern Family” and an episode of “The Twilight Zone” and that pretty much describes this new work. Nicely directed by Gordon Edelstein, on Michael Yeargan’s good looking turntable set, this show is attractively cast and wonderfully performed.
There are just four actors in “Meteor Shower” and they are all pretty terrific, with the ability to change instantly from moments of normalcy to scenes of almost extra-sensory confusion. Running a tight hour and forty-five minutes (including intermission), “Meteor Shower” at Long Wharf Theatre is certainly a one-of-a-kind work and is likely to leave you laughing hysterically, even as you are scratching your head trying to figure out what exactly is going on in the show.
The plot of the play is rather simple: one married couple (the wonderful Patrick Breen and Arden Myrin) has invited another married couple (the super Josh Stamberg and Sophina Brown) to dinner, with the hope that they will be able to see a meteor shower out on the patio that night. It is immediately apparent that this is the first time the two couples have ever gotten together, and one watches how the characters attempt to interact. Steve Martin excels at comedy and the pair hosting the dinner, Norm (Patrick Breen) and Corky (Arden Myrin), are shown to have a rather quirky, almost “new age” kind of marriage, with many cute “touchy-feely” moments between the two of them.
Conversely, the other married couple, Gerald (Josh Stamberg) and Laura (Sophina Brown) seem overly aggressive and almost rudely obnoxious. As the four characters interact, there are more than a few belly laughs as the different personalities of the couples clash and crazily bounce off each other. I would hate to give too much of the plot away, for the surprises that Steve Martin has up his sleeve are real doozies, but there are definitely drinks and dinner and the couples are treated–to put it mildly–to a meteor shower.
Or, at least that’s what I think happens in the show. About halfway through the first act, things get increasingly stranger and stranger, with some confusion to what exactly is real and what isn’t. It must be said, though, that even as one sits watching “Meteor Shower” in a state of bewilderment, this show is so funny that one can’t help from laughing uncontrollably. One of the biggest assets in the play is definitely the sterling cast of actors, and their frequently riotous performances are really something to see.
Arden Myrin is absolutely delicious as Corky, and her relationship with her husband, Norm (Patrick Breen) is simply adorable. It also adds to the amusement that, as Corky drinks, she gets kookier and kookier. Patrick Breen matches her perfectly and is pretty great at playing comedy, especially in his shocked reactions to the other married couple.
Josh Stamberg, as Gerald, is pretty brash and uncouth, with his sexy wife, Laura (Sophina Brown) being an absolute scream. Steve Martin has created such memorable characters that it is a good deal of fun watching them all intermingle even as the show gets increasingly weird. Suffice it is to say that there are definitely many outrageous moments in “Meteor Shower” and almost an otherworldly feeling of déjà vu as the plot unfolds.
“Meteor Shower” certainly ranks as one of the funniest plays I’ve seen of late, as well as one of the oddest. Director Gordon Edelstein has done a marvelous job of staging the show and he works in perfect accordance with Steve Martin’s bizarre sense of humor. The performances of the cast of four are all excellent and the show certainly looks wonderful. “Meteor Shower” at Long Wharf Theatre can be recommended, just so as long as you don’t mind getting more than a little confused while you are laughing uproariously.
“Meteor Shower” continues performances at Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, CT through October 23, 2016. For tickets, please visit http://www.longwharf.org or call the box office at 203-787-4282.
Photo (L-R): Patrick Breen and Sophina Brown
Photo by T. Charles Erickson