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Theater review: 'The Tale of the Allergist's Wife' at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts

October 7, 2010 |  2:05 pm

What do you need to be happy? A big life, great art or just a good suppository? These questions haunt “The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife,” Charles Busch’s undemanding comedy now at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts. Middle-aged Marjorie (Caroline Aaron) is having a nervous breakdown. She’s hurling Disney figurines at strangers and quoting Hermann Hesse, much to the alarm of her amiable husband (Geoffrey Wade) and intestinally challenged mother (the outrageous Eileen T’Kaye). Emotional rescue arrives in the form of an old high school friend, Lee (Marilu Henner, reprising her Broadway performance), who seems to have the glamorous, meaningful life that has eluded Marjorie. But just what is Lee’s actual agenda?

Busch, famous for his delirious excursions into camp (“Vampire Lesbians of Sodom,” “Psycho Beach Party”), leaves the glitter behind on this excursion to Manhattan’s Upper West Side, where his signature cocktail of sex and self-delusion is watered down to sitcom accessibility. Led by a deft Henner, Jeff Maynard’s solid cast delivers most of the laughs, even if this production never quite finds the hysteria under the jokes. You just wish Busch had given all those old pros a little more to do.

— Charlotte Stoudt

“The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife” La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, 14900 La Mirada Boulevard, La Mirada. 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sundays. Ends Oct. 17. $35-$50. Contact: 562-944-9801 or Running time: 2 hours, 10 minutes.

Photo: Marilu Henner and Caroline Aaron in 'The Tale of the Allergist's Wife.' Photo credit: Michael Lamont.