Theatre Review: Many Happy Returns

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, November 28, 2005


Having come of age in Marin County during the 1970s, I’ve long felt that the comic possibilities of a hot tub at an upscale dinner party were discovered, and pretty well exhausted, oh, at least 25 years ago.
But there’s still mileage in the old topic, especially when a half-forgotten satire is presented in new clothes, if you’ll forgive the phrase. And the evidence is on stage at the B Street Theatre in Sacramento. The setting has been changed from Marin to Ireland, and the script is almost new. But the teasing scenes involving towels and bathrobes, greedy materialism and references to fashionable Asian philosophy are HIGHLY reminiscent of Cyra McFadden’s bestseller from the ‘70s called “The Serial,” which later became a film.

But once you get past anxiety over who’s wearing a swimsuit, and who isn’t, this play follows the well-established formula for B Street holiday shows. We’re talking about plenty of drinking, bickering husbands and wives, 40-somethings at odds with aging parents, and holiday season angst, which ends up sounding like this:


This show breaks little new ground, but the cast is very good, and director Buck Busfield’s timing with the humor is right on the money. “Many Happy Returns” is a slightly naughty, very frothy show, and it’s at the B Street Theatre through January 8th.

(Music out)