by Nita Congress · August 20, 2015
John Mervini, Bianca Vitale, Jacob Corbett, MacKenzie Nehme, Lisbeth Russell | Travis Seminara
A cute premise, clever dialogue, and a collection of nutty characters make John Enright’s O’Brien & O’Brian a fast-paced, warm, and funny play.
Attorney Darlene O’Brien agrees to share office space with former study partner Alan O’Brian. A string of coincidences and conflicts are unspooled when Sam Holder bursts into their office, seeking counsel to represent him in a case involving the EPA and a pond that has inexplicably appeared on his vacation home property. The farce begins in earnest with the appearance of a succession of exes, led by Sam’s ex-wife and Darlene’s ex-lover.
Enright’s dialogue is breezy and crisp, filled with non sequitors and snappy comebacks (example: “You remember what Martha Stewart went to jail for? Lying to the government.” “And I felt so much safer when she was locked up.” And “Maybe you should specialize in divorce. I hear it’s steady business.” And “Don’t thrown your life away on a gender that won’t make you happy.”) The play and its characters are friendly and good-natured.
The production is somewhat marred by a long intermission: being left alone too long to ponder plot and premises rather breaks the spell, particularly when the payoff is only a matter-of-fact costume change. Far better to speed this up, rev up the laughs, and deliver us up satisfied and tickled too to the tidy happy ending.