Near the end of “Bermuda Avenue Triangle,” a comedy by the husband-and-wife team of Renee Taylor and Joe Bologna, Tess LaRuffa (Pat Hoffman) says, “I didn’t know my heart was closed until it opened.” That poignant moment comes after two acts of boilerplate shenanigans that are redeemed by the forces at Curtain Call that know how to pull off such funny and feel-good scripts.
Director Kris Anderson, a gifted actor in some of those productions, asks his cast to go for broke, and veterans that they are, they do — the nearly packed house at Friday’s opening gave them a standing ovation. I had three teens in tow who gave it a thumbs-up, too, the subject matter notwithstanding.
Widows Tess LaRuffa and Fannie Saperstein (Judi Clements) have been sent by their adult daughters to a two-bedroom Las Vegas condo from which “you can see the home of Julio Iglesias’ mother.” They’re welcomed to the retirement community by Rabbi Levine (Howard Schaffer), an invitation that only slightly mollifies Italian Tess, who longs for her home back East. In a conversation with Jewish Fannie, she reveals her disappointment with life, the result of a curse put on her years before.
‘Bermuda Avenue Triangle’
WHERE: Curtain Call Theatre, 210 Old Loudon Road, Latham
WHEN: Through Dec. 28
HOW MUCH: $23
MORE INFO: 877-7529, www.curtaincalltheatre.com
Fannie is willing to give their situation a chance, but it isn’t until they meet Johnny Paolucci (Jack Fallon) that they both begin to settle in. He’s a charmer, and soon there’s a lot of canoodling going on. Johnny, of course, turns out to be a rogue-with-a-heart, and the women’s hearts take on a touch of roguishness, making everybody except the daughters and the rabbi happy.
The energy doesn’t flag, thanks to the authors’ way with one-liners (“I’d throw myself out the window, but I live on the second floor”) and cockamamie monologues by Fannie and Tess. They get mileage, too, from sitcom stereotypes of Jews, Italians and sex-deprived senior citizens.
And, of course, the actors are first-rate. Despite a little line hesitation in Act II, Schaffer ably portrays the well-meaning cleric who’s open-mouthed and bug-eyed at the antics of the women.
Angela B. Potrikus and Jill Wanderman play two earnest daughters who have to make a stand when it comes to Mom, and their change from concern to letting go is subtly drawn, leading to a nice scene of rapprochement at the end.
There’s nothing the estimable Fallon won’t do on the floor, on the couch, in a bandage, in a bathrobe, on the phone, in a tango, in a clinch or in a drunken stupor to get a laugh, and he invariably does.
Pat Hoffman’s Tess goes through life witha sour puss and a load of bricks on her back. Ask her a question or make a stupid comment, and she’ll drop one of them on your foot. Hoffman’s timing is always spot-on. And Judi Clements, returning to the stage after years of stand-up and improvisational comedy, is a comic find. Sweetly goofy and self-deprecating, Clements’s Fannie is joyously in the moment, somehow convinced there must be more to life than what she has already had. I look forward to seeing more of her.