By: Sandi Durell
What is that sixth sense that women possess that tells them something’s going on? It couldn’t be more in tune than in this hilarious new comedy by Joe DiPietro (Living on Love, Memphis) – Clever Little Lies – currently housed at the Westside Theatre (Upstairs) on West 43rd Street.
It’s always gratifying seeing a father and son with such an open relationship that after a tough tennis match, head in the clouds Billy (George Merrick) spills the beans to his straight-laced Dad Billy, Sr. (Greg Mullavey) that he’s involved with a 23 year old personal trainer at the club in a hot sexual affair, is hopelessly in love, and swearing Dad to secrecy. But what about his wife and new baby at home? Billy says she’s just too good a wife, telling his dad more than he really wants to know about his sexual habits, dad referencing the girlfriend with “she’s 23. . . she isn’t a person yet!”
Moving from the locker room to Mom and Dad’s living room (nicely compact set designs by Yoshi Tanokura), the pace quickens when sixth sense talkie, no-nonsense Mom, Alice (cast to perfection Marlo Thomas) comes home complaining about her dinosaur day at her bookstore, her suspicions rising that something’s wrong – she’s sure her husband is hiding something . . . is it cancer she asks Billy, Sr.?
When Mom invites son and daughter-in-law, sweet but tough Jane (Kate Wetherhead), they arrive (in a car nicely situated outside the curtain, aided by Christopher J. Bailey’s spot-on lighting) with the baby for a visit, Alice’s suspicions know no bounds as she unrelentingly questions, digging and digging as the laugh-o-meter rises in tandem until the proverbial cat is out of the bag. Yes, Billy, Jr. admits his trespasses but can it top what Alice has come forth with to get to the truth? Fact or clever little lies? The underlying deceptions and betrayals can’t help but rear their ugly little heads.
Director David Saint drives the humor to propitious proportions with this talented case of four in 90 minutes with no intermission.
Photos: Matthew Murphy