By: Lauren Yarger
What’s It All About?
Love, sex and health insurance. From Robert Sternin and Prudence Fraser, the writing and producing team who gave us TV hits like "The Nanny" and "Who’s The Boss?" comes this farce starring Broadway darling Kerry Butler (Beauty and the Beast) and Matt Walton directed by Kristen Sanderson.
Butler is Melody Dent, trying to support her rebellious daughter Casey (Allison Strong) and her Alzheimer’s-inflicted grandfather, Poppa Sam (Edward James Hyland), with a part-time job without benefits at Amalgamated Healthcare. Her co-worker and best friend, Nanette (Megan Sikora), who’s a "sexual harassment suit waiting to happen," thinks getting it on with a rich guy is the answer to their problems. She arranges for Melody to end up in the elevator with Amalgamated’s CEO Harrison Babish III (Walton), but instead of falling for her, the elevator falls for both of them, plunging them to their deaths. In walks an angel (Dierdre Friel) who admits there might have been some mistake and sends them back to their lives, only Babish ends up in Melody’s body and vice versa.
The two have to figure out how to live each other’s lives. Badish soon finds out that taking care of a family, getting answers from a gynecologist appointment — and walking in heels — aren’t as easy as he thought. Melody realizes that answering to stockholders and being responsible for the running of a huge company isn’t all it’s stacked up to be either. She does excel, however, at pleasing Babish’s girlfriend, Victoria (Kate Loprest) under the covers since she is, after all, skilled in knowing what a woman wants.
Will the angel figure out how to get these two back in their own bodies? Will romance blossom for one or more of these folks?
What Are the Highlights?
Walton has some humorous moments walking around in those heels and in the female garb designed by Lara de Bruijn. A scene where he hits the bars with Nanette is particularly funny. Hyland brings some pathos to the absurd plot with his portrayal of a man ever confused if he doesn’t get his dinner at precisely 5:30. His delivery of the line, "I don’t know, I got dementia," in response to a question easily was the biggest laugh. Friel is funny as the angel with an attitude.
What Are the Lowlights?
Much of this might have worked in a zany TV setting where we know the characters like Fran Fine or Tony Micelli (in fact, a couple of the lines would have been funnier if delivered by Fran Drescher), but on stage, it falls flat.
"What is it," Melody asks.
"It’s Mayan," replies Babibish.
"I know it’s yours….."
Under My Skin
By Robert Sternin and Prudence Fraser
Directed by Kirsten Sanderson
plays through July 6 at The Little Shubert Theatre, 422 West 42nd St. This is not the big Shubert — it’s between 9th and 10th avenues, NYC).http://undermyskintheplay.com/home.