“Uncertain Terms” a Comedy of Manners for the 21st Century
By Skip Sheffield
Arts Garage of Delray Beach has another “World Premiere:” the 21st century comedy of manners, “Uncertain Terms” through March 29.
Playwright Allison Gregory, who was in the house opening night, has created a satirical look at the fractured state of modern marriage, divorce and real estate. The esteemed Todd Allen Durkin plays Harry Bennyhoff, a blundering but lovable screw-up former husband of the maddeningly perfect Dani Black, played by Erin Joy Schmidt.
The play begins with a break-in by Harry into the house of his former mother-in-law Carol Black. Harry has an unusually, even uncomfortably, close relationship with Carol, who seems to be the only person who understands him. Carol is estranged from daughter Danielle, called Dani. This gives Carol and Harry a common bond.
Carol is not an ideal mom. Her house is always a mess and the most important thing in her life is her unfiltered Camel cigarettes, which probably will kill her.
Barbara Bradshaw has a great time donning various wigs to play the zany, self-destructive Carol. Durkin brings an underlying nobility to Harry, who may be a loser but has more compassion and empathy than anyone else. This quality is underscored by Harry’s “daughter,” Tawnee Faithful (Jody-Ann Henry) is introduced,
The setup for the story is that Carol’s house is on the market (we learn she is deceased) and Dani and her brother Matthew (Matt Stabile) seek to kick Harry out.
In the middle of this conflict is friendly real estate agent Paula Twombly (Elizabeth Dimon), who is just trying to keep all parties happy while dealing with a big problem of her own.
Everyone in “Uncertain Terms” has problems, but isn’t that how it is with life? At least we can laugh at these problems, which aren’t are own but which may resemble some of our own.
Tickets are $30-$40. Call 561-450-6357 or go to www.artsgarage.org.