Clever LIttle Lies Review - When You're Having an Affair be Careful who you Tell

Nothing is funnier than real life.  It's what made Jerry Seinfeld a legendary star.  You can imagine all situations in life, but if the audience can't relate to it, it hardly works. It works really well in Clever Little Lies, now playing at the Westside Theater, 407 W. 43rd Street.

Cast portrait of Joe DiPietro's "Clever Little Lies". (L-R) George Merrick, Kate Wetherhead, Greg Mullavey and Marlo Thomas. (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

 

Joe DiPietro does it again.  Lucky for us we now have another smash hit since his I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change.  DiPietro always 'gets it' as he captures his audiences with true life situations that someone, somewhere will have experienced in their lifetimes.

 

Marlo Thomas headshot (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

 

This terrific belly laugh of a show stars Alice (Marlo Thomas); married to Bill, Sr., (Greg Mullavey). They've been married a long, long time, sometimes so long that one partner just knows what the other will say.  Especially in the case of 'keeping a secret.'  Good or bad, the secret comes out, eventually.  But does it?  Maybe, maybe not.   Billy, Jr. (George Merrick) is married to Jane (Kate Wetherhead).  They recently had a baby and, as with most new parents they do have their challenges.  She thinks she's fat, he says 'no.' He thinks she doesn't pay attention to him, she says she does.   Alice has a bookstore with challenges.  She is selling more t-shirts and coffee mugs than she is books and can't understand why people read from electronic gadgets. 

 

Greg Mullavey, Kate Wetherhead and Marlo Thomas in a scene from Joe DiPietro's "Clever Little Lies" directed by David Saint at the Westside Theatre. (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

With only four characters in this 90 minute, no intermission, play, we are reminded of the good, bad and the ugly of marriage, cheating and what happens when a spouse finds out.  With that, there are lots of laughs,  as one person's problem becomes a bit complicated  and from there all breaks loose as we experience what 'should have been' a nice night with family and turns out to be a future sitcom.

 

The play opens in a locker room where Bill and Billy are just finishing up a tennis match.  Father and son argue about who plays better tennis, but as the conversation draws to 'more personal' matters, the two Bills are involved in a conversation that involved Billy and a 23 year-old physical fitness trainer.  Billy Jr. confides in his dad and makes him 'swear' he won't tell Alice.  That is where the fun begins. 

 

Kate Wetherhead, George Merrick, Marlo Thomas and Greg Mullavey in a scene from Joe DiPietro's "Clever Little Lies" directed by David Saint at the Westside Theatre. (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

 

I have to put in my thoughts about what great acting is all about.  When you start a scene in a locker room where the men are getting dressed from underwear up, it takes a whole lot of professionalism and talent to end the scene all dressed in suits and ties, while playing their lines flaulessly.

 

Greg Mullavey and Marlo Thomas in a scene from Joe DiPietro's "Clever Little Lies" directed by David Saint at the Westside Theatre. (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

Personally, I think Greg Mullavey stole the show.  His deadpan humor and reactions to his wife's unpredictable behavior, is done without a hitch.  He could be any husband who is married for so long.  Thomas is a grown-up That Girl, looking great and, aside from some of the foul language, she is who we remember.  At almost 78 years old, she is beautiful, slim and can bend down on her knees and get up by herself.  That's a big deal for some of us.

 

Greg Mullavey headshot (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

The scenic designs are quite original.  There is a terrific scene with Wetherhead and Merrick riding in their Audi having a conversation about love, babies and mother-in-laws, while the traffic zooms by in the background.  It reminded me of the old I Love Lucy episodes of them driving to California.  It's not new but it works incredibly well at this show.  The cozy living room scene could be anyone's living room.  You just want to take a chair and sit in and become part of the family conversation.

 

Greg Mullavey and Marlo Thomas in a scene from Joe DiPietro's "Clever Little Lies" directed by David Saint at the Westside Theatre. (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

What actually is the truth that ultimately comes out?  I'd rather not spoil it.  It's funny, sad and thought-provoking.  DiPietro has it down perfectly.

Clever lIttle Lies is currently playing at the Westside Theater, upstairs, 407 W. 43rd Street, NYC.  It is a limited run production and plans to end on January 3, 2016.  For more information go to the cleverlittlelies website 

 

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