White's Lies

  • Date:
    May 1, 2010
    Review by:
    Tulis McCall

    Review by Tulis McCall
    (6 May 2010)

    If this were a high school production, I would say, “Well done!” to the writer and hope that she found a good teacher soon.

    What a collection of squandered riches this play is. Joe White (Tuc Watkins) is an eternal bachelor has no intention of marrying, pretty much ever, until his mother Mrs. White (Betty Buckley) breaks the news to him that she has cancer. Her last wish is to see him married with children. It’s grandchildren she wants. She may have only months to live so things have to happen quickly.

    It so happens that the very next client to swan into Joe’s office is an old flame, Barbara (Andrea Grano) who he dumped years and years ago. She is getting a divorce and, knowing what a heel Joe is, trusts his lack of scruples will come in handy for the settlement. She mentions her daughter who was born soon after they broke up but is clear the girl is not his. Woah! Lightbulb! The daughter could be his, couldn’t she? I mean if he didn’t charge for his work on the divorce he could ask one teeny tiny favor couldn’t he? Did I mention he has no scruples?

    So Barbara ends up agreeing, and not liking the situation. And her daughter Michelle (Christy Carlson Romano) ends up in Joe’s life, which she and Joe like very much. The two fall for one another, the deceit gets tossed on its ear several times before it is revealed, and both Mrs. White and Joe’s partner Alan (Peter Scolari) prove to have more up their sleeves than biceps.

    It is a flimsy idea for a plot and the script makes it even flimsier. The text is as think as a slice of prosciutto and definitely not as tasty. The actors try their best but the only one to succeed is Scolari, who at least is cast as a character with some comic touches. Betty Buckley – who I just saw in a wonderful show at Feinstein’s is more or less wasted. The rest of the cast is merely mediocre. Tuc Watkins is charming on television, but it is hard to tell if he can handle stage work at all or if the role just escaped him. Romano is beautiful but more or less absent. Grano tries, but it is a long hard climb.

    These characters have no legs to stand on - in spite of the fabulous footwear that the women have, which you notice because you are trying to look anywhere but at the actors – and there is little the actors can do in the face of such a daunting absence.

    This is not a horrible show. It is just amateur night trying to pass as professional theatre.

    (Tulis McCall)