Stagebeat

Asterisk by Jerome Weidman tries to be clever, but two of the principal actors weren't in on the game plan. Every Sunday, Seymour (Steve Cohen) arrives in gray suit and tie to visit his aging mother (Susie R. Goldberg) in her sparsely furnished Queens living room to convince her that her memory is going so that she will just "drop dead." He whines that if he leaves and she hasn't died that his wife will leave him by taking a train to Reno -- and he's serious. Unfortunately, it is Cohen who has lost his memory, making long pauses, stumbling over lines while prattling about how much he hates Mama but somehow "still loves her." The mother (who seems to have been modeled after Momma from Momma's Family) follows suit by mugging, uttering sarcastic comments (aiming for an over-the-top sensibility but somehow ending up under the top), and accusing her son of dating call girls, who call themselves his clients. The pair pace the stage, restless and seemingly without motivation. The dialogue in some sections could be cutting, but the timing is off and the energy low, and the same story line becomes tedious and lacks continuity. Luckily, Griselda Patience (Kathryn Bain) saunters in with her English accent and roaming hands, a manipulator to easily match the scheming mother and son. She has just mysteriously dropped in from jolly ol' England to rent a room in the mother's house. Seymour is putty in her hands, and she has no problem controlling his mother either. But she has a surprise of her own. It doesn't amount to much, but she's a saucy and sophisticated piece of eye candy who steals what's left of the show. With another month of rehearsal and a rewrite, Asterisk might be presentable; but for now, the show is disappointing. (Through June 13 at the Tamarac Theater of Performing Arts, 7143 Pine Island Rd., 954-726-7898.) -- Rachel Galvin

 
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