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A CurtainUp Review
Barbra's Wedding
By Jenny Sandman

Here's a Talmudic question for you, Rabbi: If a man makes a vow in the woods behind his parents' house and he doesn't hear himself make it, is it all just bearshit in the woods?
---Molly Schiff
John Pankow & Julie White
John Pankow & Julie White
Living next door to Barbra Streisand is probably a hassle on any normal day--so much more so on Barbra's wedding day. Jason and Molly Schiff, the only non-celebrities on their block in Malibu, are forced to endure the limos, helicopters, TV news crews, and general media circus that accompany the wedding. And it very nearly ends their own marriage. Barbra's Wedding raises an interesting question; what do you do when what you want is strangling you?

Jason Schiff was once a star on a sitcom, Everything's Peachy, that is on permanent rotation on the Nostalgia Channel. Now he is a permanent out-of-work actor, struggling to make sense of his life. His wife Molly puts up with him, for the most part, but Barbra's wedding brings out every fear and insecurity Jason has buried about his career. Stressed out by the noise and commotion, they begin arguing. The arguing--about fish pie, about the wedding, about his exercise routine, etc.--escalates into a full-blown fight, and finally Molly can take it no longer. She decides to leave, but Arnold Schwartzenegger's Humvee is blocking her car. She must stay and duke it out with her husband, while Maury Povich broadcasts from their front lawn.

A cute pretense, to be sure. John Pankow and Julie White are excellent actors, the production values are top-notch (the set is a perfect rendition of a cluttered SoCal bungalow; the helicopter sounds are so real it's scary), the jokes are funny, and the end is happy. So what's missing? Depth, perhaps; or maybe character development. The jokes are mostly of the one-liner variety, and the entire play is really just one long argument. That gets old in a hurry, no matter how beautifully acted. In the end, like so much that comes out of Southern California, Barbra's Wedding is rather plastic and inane.

Barbra's Wedding
By Daniel Stern
Directed by David Warren
With John Pankow and Julie White
Set Design by Neil Patel
Costume Design by David C. Woolard
Lighting Design by Jeff Croiter
Sound Design by Fritz Patton
Westside Theatre Downstairs
407 West 43rd Street
212-239-6200; tickets $60
2/11/03-6/29/03; opening 3/05/03
Tuesdays through Fridays at 8; Saturdays at 2:30 and 8; Sundays at 3 and 7:30
Running time 1 hour 40 minues, without an intermission
Reviewed by Jenny Sandman based on February 27th performance
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