Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Paul Rudnick is an adept jokester. He can write a one-liner like nobody else working, filling each sentence with venomous vigor. So, why in hell would he ever attempt political comedy? His Regrets Only, currently playing at City Center Stage I, is a limp meditation on gay marriage and friendship. It centers around two fixtures of the New York social scene: Tibby McCollough (Christine Baranski), a wealthy and gorgeous socialite, and her best friend, a Bill Blass-esque fashion designer named Hank Hadley (George Grizzard). Hank has recently lost his longtime partner, and is incensed when he learns that Tibby's lawyer hubby (David Rasche) is authoring an anti-gay marriage bill for the president. Forced comedy, and an incredibly flimsy twist, follows. Baranski cannot be faulted; she makes Rudnick's sharp sasses soar, and looks ravishing while doing it. However, the great character actor Grizzard is woefully miscast. He tries way too hard to gay it. I only wish that the play was deserving of its leading lady.