The Allergist’s Wife
By Charles Busch
Directed by Tony Simotes Staring Laura Hodos, Mike Horohoe, and Cynthia Beckert Mad Cow Theater Orlando FL
It’s always awkward when the house guest asks you to join in a three way. That’s where Marjorie (Hodos) and her semi-retired allergist hubby (Horohoe) find themselves. On regular days they excel at activism: saving Peruvian whales, opening free clinics and feeding soup kitchens. But Marjorie wallows in depression; she’s in a funk only an upper class New Yorker can execute successfully: moaning, moping and making everyone miserable even as she visits every museum, spiritualist and progressive speaker the city has to offer. Even her mother Frieda (Kate Thomas-Denson) admits her daughter might beat her in the NYC World Kvetching competition. The mysterious Lee appears. She may be a girlhood friend, but now she’s an international woman of mystery if she’s even real. Is there nothing Lee can’t do? Speak Chinese, cook a camel, perform open heart surgery on a lesbian whale? Is there no celebrity too famous to die that she doesn’t know intimately? Is she a space alien looking for action? We arrive at a crisis, and that forces the family time to kick her out and re-unify this family specializing in internal self-destruction.
The show maybe a bit dated but the gags still land courtesy of a strong comic team. Cynthia takes the erotica charged older woman’s role far as possible on a R-Rated stage, Mr. Horohoe remains the calm corner of this maelstrom of confused feelings, but it’s Mrs. Hodos who keeps the maniacal comedy on a high plane. She’s never more than one spit take away from total comic domination. Surrounding this core of competence reveal a dedicated support staff: Daniel Navarro as Mohammad, the door man with the dirt on Lee and Mrs. Thomas-Denson as the over the top Jewish mother wielding the twin IV’s of chicken soup and guilt. All this fits on an elegant black leather and chrome set, these might even be the remnant furniture from Studio 54. It’s an older comedy but it still checks out: Charles Busch has a warped sense of humor that transcends dated gags that predates smart phones. But its Mrs. Hodos that drives all this, she’s up and on the whole time, and everyone on stage follows her lead. It’s the smartest thing they ever did.