By: Sandi Durell
Talk about mismatched roommates! David Lindsay-Abaire’s Ripcord, has set into motion the female counterparts of Felix and Oscar in this sitcom featuring two old biddies living at the Bristol Place Assisted Living Facility. Meet Abby (Holland Taylor) and Marilyn (Marylouise Burke). The problem is that the lovely sunny double room, with park view, isn’t made for two . . . no, it’s only made for the irritable, cranky sourpuss Abby who will go to any length to get rid of her optimistic, chatterbox, frisky roomie, Marilyn, whom everyone loves, especially forthright attendant Scotty (Nate Miller) who’s constantly interceding, mostly on Marilyn’s behalf.
This is a case of sticks n’ stones will break my bones, but names will never harm me . . . until they do. The solution? Abby, who says she’s never been frightened, devises a scheme and makes a bet with Marilyn. If Marilyn can scare her, then Marilyn can not only stay in the room, but also have her bed near the window. And, since Marilyn never gets angry . . . she says there’s no point as it leads to ugly places . . . it’s Abby’s job to be cruel enough to elicit that anger.
Needless to say, there now ensues a series of comedy scenes (with very efficiently well designed sets by Alexander Dodge and Peter Kaczorowski) to explore the torment these women foster upon each other. A haunted house and a dangerous skydive that includes Marilyn’s daughter (Rachel Dratch) and son-in-law (Daoud Heidami), to a surprise visit from Abby’s former druggie son Benjamin (Glenn Fitzgerald), absent for the last five years, to a make-believe death.
It’s bing, bam, boom wit and clever direction by David Hyde Pierce as this fast-paced comedy moves through two acts, with one intermission, at Manhattan Theatre Club. And as much as you tend to love the perky Marilyn, you would enjoy some moments of quiet.
Of course, there are some more serious issues that come to the fore; aging, loneliness, heartbreak but they’re left lurking under the surface.
You can’t go wrong spending a night with Abby and Marilyn in “Ripcord.” Thru December 6th, MTC 131 West 55th St., 212 399-3000 www.manhattantheatreclub.com
Photos: Joan Marcus