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Adagio Teas
   Features  >  NY Theater Reviews

at the Peter Norton Space

By Adam R. Perlman

  A scene from Queens Boulevard/PH: Carol Rosegg

A wedding traditionally comes at the end of a comedy, but playwright Charles Mee has never hesitated to question convention-and in Queens Boulevard, he probes romantic comedy and downright interrogates the institution of marriage.

Beginning the play with a vibrant, multicultural wedding ceremony-the bride is Shizuko (Michi Barall), the groom is Vijay (Amir Arison)-Mee allows the newlyweds only a brief moment together. Before their wedding day is through, Vijay ducks out to visit the neighborhood florist and is swept into an odyssey packed with mythological references, the defining events of the life cycle, and a trip to a Russian bath.

Separated, the couple are individually sucked into conversations about relationships. These discussions mine humor and pain from a mixture of stereotypes and anecdotes, and it's soon difficult to know where one leaves off and the other begins.

A clearer divide exists between the play's dialogue and musical scenes. Davis McCallum's slack, shapeless direction leaves Peter Pucci's choreography to provide the exuberant punctuation the script calls for.

The evening's highpoint is a towel dance in the aforementioned bath, a moment of inspiration that grows out of the play as naturally as Mimi Lien's fantastic set spills its garish commercialism into the audience.

It's through these seeming distractions-the lazzi, the shopping trips, the rants on penis size of the Asian male-that the couple actually form a union. Marriage starts out with a ceremony, but it is forged and re-forged out of commitment and community.


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