Long Wharf, Main Stage, New Haven: Two couples get together on a night when astronomical events prevail in the skies. Corky and Norm are really into understanding each other and being super-sensitive to each other’s feelings. They welcome Gerald and Laura to their home to watch the “once-in-a-lifetime” meteor shower. However, Gerald and Laura are up to fun and games at the expense of their host. Laura, a super sexy gal hits on Norm and Corky. The shooting sparks in the sky are nothing like the ones indoors when things get heated up.

Arden Myrin and Patrick Breen in Meteor Shower. — T. Charles Erickson photo

Arden Myrin and Patrick Breen in Meteor Shower. — T. Charles Erickson photo

Considering how brilliant Steve Martin’s Picasso at the Lapin Agile and The Underpants were, his latest comedy is definitely disappointing. It’s more silly than anything else. One keeps waiting for something to develop but nothing ever does. Martin teases the audience suggesting that something is brewing, but it doesn’t get any further than the tease and results in a ridiculous situation for the sake of being ridiculous.

The playbill suggests that this is a comedy about “marriage, sex, and the subconscious.” Supposedly it’s about how much married people suppress when it comes to sexual desire with other people. One can even go so far as to suggest that the wild sexy couple is the alter ego of the overly considerate couple, but that’s not really spelled out and if it were, it wouldn’t make any difference since the action that unfolds is  pure silliness.

There’s a complete lack of believability and coherence here. It’s like a gag that has gone on too long. Mind you, this reviewer loves comedy including slapstick. This comedy just didn’t seem very funny. The audience didn’t even laugh much on opening night. Nonetheless if you’re really into goofy, impossible situations, then this definitely fits the bill.

The characters Corky and Norm are so politically correct that they are stupidly funny. Gerald and Laura are too mean spirited to be funny. The latter couple tempts their hosts and hopes to get them to transgress in sexual exploits. They want Corky and Norm to ruin their marriage. Mind you, it is a night when things in the universe are mysterious. That is the explanation for the outrageously strange behavior of the guests.

Overall, this is not Steve Martin’s best. Even the superior performances of Arden Myrin as Corky, Patrick Breen as Norm, Josh Stamberg as Gerald and Sophina Brown as Laura cannot lift this play up into hit-dom. Gordon Edelstein, the artistic director of Long Wharf directs this show and has the best of the best on the design team. This includes John Gromada’s original music and sound design, Donald Holder’s lighting design, Michael Yeargan’s scrumptious set design and Jess Goldstein’s costumes. It’s pleasing to watch, but sad to say this Meteor Shower fizzles out instead of garnering oohs and ahhs.

Box office: 203-787-4282. The play runs through Oct. 23.

 

Joanne Greco Rochman is an active member in The American Theatre Critics Association.  She welcomes comments. Contact: [email protected]