by Sandi Durell
It’s raining rocks in Steve Martin’s latest Broadway offering. Meteor Shower is a zany absurdist comedy that keeps repeating over and over again in varying scenarios that release the different personalities living beneath the surface of each of the talented foursome paired off in couples – Amy Schumer and Jeremy Shamos and Laura Benanti and Keegan-Michael Key. This is pure wacky head spinning Martin-ism as they await the phenomena about to appear skyward.
The deck is stacked with sensational Schumer, in her Broadway debut, a kook personified as Corky in ponytail and deadpan persona trying to be cool who, with schlubby hubby Norm (always reliable Shamos) start out as the staid more “normal” twosome who practice the art of couples therapy in a time out mid nasty remarks by holding hands and looking into each other’s eyes while affirming their feelings of love for one another.
It’s the summer of 1993, and they have invited Laura (Tony Winner Laura Benanti) and Gerald (Key) – whom they never met, over for drinks – to their nicely laid out home in Ojai, Ca. They are the complete opposites as the guests from hell; he full of himself (“everything reminds him of him”), a type A personality; she a former West Coast editor for Vogue, gorgeous in a sexy slip dress. They have a mission on their minds and it’s more than sharing a drink. All is hunky dory and suddenly Laura and Gerald explode at each other – Gerald to Laura: “Shut your stupid face.” Laura’s retort “eat me”. . . as mortified Corky makes nice “Well, what an interesting exchange of ideas.” Absurdist twists and turns keep unfolding, including a puzzling eggplant delivery.
They are all over the edge in this madcap comedy to the nth degree, and it’s a little confusing until you get the pattern each time the doorbell rings and the same scene begins again but the personalities, perspectives and verbal exchanges are completely different.
Meteors fly as do sexual advances all the way around producing silliness but good laughs as director Jerry Zaks has these four performing some unusual physical feats in varying degrees of coupling….from Shamos’ mounting attempts on Key to Schumer’s bunny hops. It’s all a lot of fun and games, including someone struck by a meteor (ouch), and conversations that cover a lot of bases including a reference to Corky’s cannibalism, her vagina, threesomes, and Laura being from Tierra del Fuego.
It’s 80 spinning minutes of roller coaster and you can’t help being taken with the twists and turns as new characterizations emerge from these four comedic pundits who meld so perfectly together in impeccable timing. Maybe Steve Martin’s Freudian line explains it all: “If you don’t deal with your subconscious, it deals with you.”
The turntable set that takes us indoors and outdoors is perfection designed by Beowulf Boritt while Fitz Patton’s sound adds the right opening touch with Beethoven’s Fifth to the twinkling stars above as meteor’s fly via Natasha Katz’ lighting.
Photos: Matthew Murphy
Meteor Shower – Booth Theatre, 222 West 45 Street thru January 21, 2018 www.meteoronbroadway.com