“Fuddy Meers” is a comedy of distorted truths. Even the title is a
distortion of the words “funny mirrors,” like the ones you find at a
carnival fun house. The central character, Claire, is a special kind
of amnesiac -- the poor thing can’t remember what happened yesterday,
let alone what happened last year.
Events unfold as freshly for her as they do for the audience on
one wild and definitely crazy day. Still, even the cheerfully
unflappable Claire understands something horrible must have happened
to make her so desperately need to forget.
This is the Los Angeles premiere of playwright David
Linday-Abaire’s wonderfully serious romp, transported from
Off-Broadway, and The Colony Theatre earned that honor with its
consistently high standards.
Robert L. Smith’s set design is marvelously functional and
flexible, even if it lacks a door fit for Claire’s rebellious son
Kenny (Michael Riesz, with appropriately spiked hair) to slam in
requisite teenage fashion.
Bradley M. Look’s makeup design, A. Jeffrey Schoenberg’s costumes,
Lisa D. Katz’s lighting and Drew Dalzell’s sound design are solidly
Director David Rose made a legitimate choice to focus on the
antics instead of the angst, the package instead of the gift. The
uniformly fine actors work loud and fast, and direct the jokes
straight out to the audience, although talking to each other might
sometimes be less distracting and make more sense.
Special mention goes to Denise Dillard as Claire, the energetic
hub of all the action; Donald Sage Mackay as the Limping Man willing
to tell Claire anything, as long as it doesn’t involve answering any
of her questions; and Jonathan Palmer as Claire’s faithful, albeit
constantly surprising, husband.
But grabbing the prize for most heart-wrenchingly hilarious is
Nick DeGruccio as both the child-like Millet, and Millet’s obscenely
hilarious hand-puppet Hinky-Binky. “You should never hurt people!”
Millet half-yells and half-begs. Of course, you shouldn’t.
That’s the whole point.