The Seven Year Itch

The Seven Year Itch

The Seven Year Itch
By George Axelrod
Directed by Frank Hilgenberg
Starring Adam Cornett and Jackie Prutsman
Theatre Downtown, Orlando FL

Now here’s a man with a serious inner monologue. Richard Sherman (Cornett) edits unpromising books into two bit best sellers and finds his marriage switching to glide. His wife Helen (Pamela Stone) takes their son of the country for the summer, leaving Richard to fantasize about all the women he thinks he could have had. A symbolic tomato plant falls from the apartment above and The Girl (Prutsman) slinks down for a drink and an apology. Richard agonize a bit more as Dr. Brubaker (Tim Bass) drops by to explain why men have affairs after seven years of marriage and how he gets $50 an hour to explain why. This is all very cozy until the Helen shows up in search of her red dress: she needs it for a romantic dinner with Richard’s suave rival Tom McKenzie (Blain Handley). Now Richard is really steamed – should he punch out Tom, confess The Girl to Helen, or just simmer away in a pre-air-conditioning New York summer?

Richard sure can agonize, but he’s got some good material to agonize over. His entire harem recalls a Matt Helm fantasy sequence from the backless Miss Morris (Natalie Reed) to the statuesque Elaine (Stephanie Miller) to the best on-stage name ever: Maria Whatever-Her-Name -Was (Niurka Lopez). Richard sums up the entire post war anxiety about libido, id, ego, and till-death-do-us-part-once-the-passion-has-fled crisis. In one of his funniest roles ever, stuttering Dr. Brubaker offers little true help but does stumble in at the most comedic convenient moments. Naturally this stage play is haunted by the ghost of its film version, and Ms Prutsman does an excellent job of slinking and pouting her way around Richard’s libido, but the real sexual chemistry came from Helene and tom. He was the short version of Hugh Heffner, and she was Miss May, any year you pick.

On a sweltering night this is a delightfully fluffy comedy packed with sex, guilt and farce. The set has wonderful brick work decorated with period milk bottles and anachronistic potato chip bags. There’s no blast of air from a subway gate, but the beer is cold, the women hot and the joke funny.

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