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"La Terrasse"


La Terrasse," a farce by the screenwriter and dramatist Jean-Claude Carrière, as Englished by Mark O'Donnell, has arrived at Manhattan Theatre Club's Stage II. A farce has every right to be silly and even a bit contrived. But this play, about the sudden breakup of a marriage in a fashionable Paris apartment, complete with imposing terrace, and the comings of an officious rental agent ushering in unlikely and obnoxious clients, some of whom promptly make themselves at home, does what a farce must not do: It is mostly unfunny.

As sedulously directed by Mike Ockrent in a neat set by Santo Loquasto, La Terrasse features a best performance from the wind that comes howling at us in the darkened auditorium before the play begins. Next-best are David Schramm as a fat nuisance, Bruce Norris as a rich-pipsqueak nuisance, and Annie Golden as the agent nuisance. The others will do, except Jeremy Davidson as the rejected husband, who strikes one as the drama star of a second-rate American college. There are a few funny sight gags; the dialogue is mostly ginger ale trying to pass itself off as champagne.


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