In David Mamet's wicked comedy, Boston Marriage, Anna and Claire, a pair of middle-aged, verbose and quick-tongued women, share a life together on the fringe of society in the late 19th century. To make ends meet, Anna becomes the mistress of a wealthy gentleman who provides the financial security and baubles necessary to live the fashionable lifestyle they require. Meanwhile, Claire becomes enamored with a young girl and asks Anna's assistance in setting up a rendezvous. Witty banter ensues and a series of schemes and twists leads to a crisis that puts both the women's futures at risk.
The forte of Boston Marriage is most definitely the clever maze of dialogue that sweeps the audience through the whims of the plot. However, this production misses the mark on this essential quick wit, instead aiming for the obvious and over the top. Mirrored in the ostentatious costume and set designs, the characters are overdramatic about everything which comes off as inauthentic and just falls flat.
Despite starring Philadelphia favorite Grace Gonglewski (Claire) and Suzanne O'Donnell (Anna), two highly talented actors, the relationship between the two lacks the chemistry necessary for us to believe the two are friends, let alone lesbian partners. Unfortunately, as these characters are the show, along with their charmingly funny Scottish maid played by Caroline Dooner, it's simply missing the momentum to get through the second act.
Performances of Boston Marriage by 1812 Productions run through May 20. For tickets and more information, visit http://www.1812productions.org/.
Photo Credit: Mark Garvin