Hip Shot: Boston Marriage
Spooky Universe – Universalist National Memorial Church
Sunday, July 10, 2:30 p.m.
Tuesday, July 12, 7:45 p.m.
Saturday, July 16, 4:45 p.m.
Saturday, July 23, 10:30 p.m.
They say: "Do you like Oscar Wilde? Do you like dirty jokes? Well, David Mamet wrote a play just for you! Come see the raunchy tale of two Victorian women with a romantic "understanding" that's about to become much more complicated."
Aaron's take: It's true: If you've always found Oscar Wilde just a bit too tame, this show's for you. Or if you've always thought Waiting for Godot needed more of an Aaron Sorkin touch. Or if you've wished Fringe shows had proper lighting and stage direction.
Among the more polished works of the festival, Boston Marriage—the title derives from a turn-of-the-century term for two women cohabitating without financial support from a man—opens on a dispute between lovers Anna and Claire, and for 75 minutes pretty much stays there. Anna has found a new "protector," a male benefactor who can, in a typical carnal barter, provide for the two women to the end of their days. Except that Claire has scored a new, scandalously young female lover, who is, in true Wildean fashion, inconveniently (if unbeknownst to our heroines) related to the protector.
And so the sharp-tongued protagonists hash it out, and out, and out, until the witty dialogue starts to lose its flair. Thankfully, we're offered an occasional respite from their banter by the wonderfully acted comic relief, in the form of a Scottish maid named Catherine (the Lucky character, if we're to keep up the Godot analogy). Of course, Godot himself—here, the protector and the young love—never actually appears, and so the three actresses are left to prop up the show with performances that are energetic enough to fuel the play for its duration, even if they were slightly rough around the edges on opening night. The result is at times delightful, at times a bit trying, but ultimately satisfying.
See it if: You like your dialogue salacious, sultry, spicy, scandalous, and so forth.
Skip it if: You take your tea and crumpets with jam, not anachronistic vulgarities.