Entertaining if self-consciously sitcom-y, "Dear Prudence" sympathizes with an insatiable Manhattan twentysomething in her quest for a man who can satisfy her and live to tell about it.
By MARK MARINO
"Dear Prudence," Kathryn Hefti's fluffy tale about a lovable nymphomaniac, is a fetching farce that goes down easy. The show opens with a bang, as Prudence (Kristin Stewart Chase) and sometime love Dick (Garth T. Mark) are approaching the finale of a very vocal and enthusiastic round of sex. Once Dick is spent, he prepares to go, but Prudence still craves more. Dick tells her he is tired of feeling that she keeps him around simply to sate her sexual appetite, and he heads out the door, leaving Prudence horny and heartbroken.
The next morning, Prudence's roommates, Haley (Jerusha Klemperer) and Rose (Lynn Antunovich), present her with a letter from her "one true love," Cole, an acting coach in London. He writes of how much he misses Prudence and adds that he is on his way to New York City to visit her. Prudence is thrilled and, of course, turned on.
|Written by: Kathryn Hefti.|
Directed by: Rosemary Katherine Andress.
Cast: Kristin Stewart Chase, Garth T. Mark, Lynn Antunovich, Jerusha Klemperer, Natasha Piletich, Jim Conroy.
224 Waverly Pl., off 7th Ave., at 11th St.
March 30 - April 20, 2003
Shortly after the letter is opened, a repairman named Ray (Mark) arrives at the girls' Upper East Side apartment to fix a faulty refrigerator light. He gives both the bulb and Prudence a good screw, then drops dead in her bedroom, courtesy of a bad heart and a dose of Viagra. A quick search through the stiff's wallet helps the roommates identify him as Ray Mancracci, the husband of Rose's mother's friend Flo and the nephew of a mobster. And thus comes the show's climax: The girls must now ditch Ray's body before Cole arrives, keep the scandal out of the media, and break the news to Flo without her breaking their limbs.
While "Dear Prudence" is a theatrical production, it appears to draw inspiration from television shows. The characters are oddly familiar: Haley, the Swarthmore-educated voice of reason, is not unlike "Sex and the City's" Miranda; Rose, a tough-talking Italian chick from the Bronx, is a hybrid of Laverne DeFazio and Rosie O'Donnell; and Prudence the least-developed character, oddly enough is a stereotypical blonde bimbo. As with many sitcoms, the high jinks occur in one location in this case, the girls' apartment and several jokes rely on puns and slapstick. One almost expects to hear a laugh track each time the actors mug for the audience or deliver a one-liner.|
This is not to say that "Dear Prudence" is all bad. It is often entertaining and includes several fine performances. Natasha Piletich is a riot as the crass and flashy Flo Mancracci, and her brief visit to the roommates' apartment is the highlight of the show. Garth T. Mark skillfully portrays four different characters, bringing a freshness to each and earning laughs in the process.
Although "Dear Prudence" is somewhat formulaic and not exactly the knee-slapper it intends to be, it is still a very watchable light comedy. It won't have you begging for more, but it will certainly leave you satisfied.
|APRIL 12, 2003|
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