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NY Theater Reviews

A scene from

GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN

By Sandy MacDonald

Girls night out, oops make that The Drunken City, with lightweight characters and obvious plot points. When did modern young women become such ninnies?

When did modern young women become such ninnies? You can't really blame it all on Sex and the City,because that frolicsome foursome are a bunch of Descartes compared to the three newly affianced ditzes at the heart of Adam Bock's The Drunken City, enjoying a spirited production directed by Trip Cullnan at Playwrights Horizons.

The first time the trio jumps up and down, squealing, to show off their rings, it's cute. Subsequent times, not so much. And one has to assume that the city in question is not New York, where you'd have to be seriously hammered (or have a death-wish) to glom on to a couple of strange guys out on the street, but some semi-mythical locus in Bock's imagination, a place as safe as Chagrin Falls.

We've encountered this plot before- in the sitcom Friends, actually where Rachel's broken engagement wasn't even judged worthy of an episode it was backstory.

It's pretty predictable, what happens when Marnie (Cassie Beck) starts draping herself about the neck of a handsome stranger (Mike Colter), who is himself on the rebound and seeking some feminine succor. It's not as if he's blind to her situation-she's wearing a wedding veil while trolling bars with her bachelorette buddies-and so the insistence with which he presses his suit is rather alienating: nice guys don't mack on the alcohol-impaired. As it turns out, though, Frank is a true romantic (John Carrafa has choreographed him a hilarious courtship ritual), and so it's Marnie instead-lascivious one minute, joshing the next, with a dash of drama queen thrown in (fairly typical drunk,in other words)- who really doesn't come off well, though her vagaries seem intended to endear.

I found my attention shifting instead to Linda (Sue Jean Kim), who's assigned the more lyrical passages-comparing the city, for instance to a sleeping dragon-and Barrett Foa as a self-described tap-dancing dentist (whimsy alert!). There's another romance brewing beyond that of the errant bride-to-be and her accidental swain, and if you don't see it coming, better have your gaydar checked. Even so, the clincher's awfully sweet.

David Korins's minimalist set has a hidden gimmick. At key turning points, the platform shifts, sending the variously inclined romantics atumble. So lightweight are Bock's characters, however, it's a wonder they're subject to gravity.