It turns out three heads are not better than one.
Asked to describe the merits of his new one-act comedy, Woody Allen told The New York Times that it has no “redeeming social value” or “entertainment Value” and hat he wrote it “only to take out my new paper shredder.”
While it¹s true that Allen’s one-act is not very good, it is considerably better than the ones written by Ethan Coen and Elaine May that also comprise “Relatively Speaking,” a truly dreadful triple-bill of comedy sketches directed by John Turturro with a pretty strange cast that includes Marlo Thomas and Steve Guttenberg. (Fred Melamed dropped out during previews and it’s not hard to imagine why.)
“Talk Therapy,” Coen’s 15-minute curtain raiser, observes a psychiatrist (Jason Kravits) trying to break through to a belligerent patient (Danny Hoch) and ends with a scene depicting the patient’s parents (Katherine Borowitz and Allen Lewis Rickman), as if to explain how he became so confrontational. It is absolutely pointless and full of empty banter.
After an uncomfortable four-minute break, the show continues with May¹s “George is Dead,” in which a pampered, childish socialite (Thomas) shows up at the apartment of her childhood nanny’s daughter (Lisa Emery) with the news that her husband has died, totally unsure of what to do next. Thomas does her best to ham it up, but the piece is repetitive and irritating.
In Allen’s “Honeymoon Hotel,” the giddy stepfather of the groom (Gutenberg) has run off with the bride (Ari Graynor) on the day of the wedding, causing the rest of the family to show up at their honeymoon suite in an uproar.
This is just an old-fashioned, third-rate farce and is hardly worthy of being done on Broadway.
If you go: “Relatively Speaking” plays an open run at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. 256 W. 47th St., 877-250-2929, relativelyspeakingonbroadway.com.