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BWW Reviews: POOR BEHAVIOR is Bland Playwriting

Theresa Rebeck's latest good-looking bad boy that women find irresistible is a smug, condescending pseudo-intellectual with a sexy Irish accent who thinks Americans are stupid and aggressively insists that the word "good" has no meaning.

Kate Kreisler and Brian Avers
(Photo: James Leynse)

The fact that Poor Behavior is not a one-act play might be the only logical reason why Ian's (Brian Avers) host couple hasn't kicked him out of their lovely country home after he glibly insults the of the lady of the house. But though Ella (Kate Kreisler) is wounded deeply by Ian's verbal abuse, Rebeck tosses out that old chestnut; the two of them once had a secret fling and Ella, married to the dull and placid Peter (Jeff Biehl), still has the hots for him.

Ian isn't much nicer to his emotionally drained wife, Maureen (Heidi Armbruster), who keeps reminding him that she's a catch who received three marriage proposals before he came along.

Beginning with a bang and steadily petering out, Poor Behavior is one of those plays that pairs up educated, upper-middle class couples, has them toss about a few gags involving fresh basil and gourmet muffins, and then allows the issues of one couple's crumbling marriage to invade the other couple's seemingly healthy one.

The quartet of actors work well together under Evan Cabnet's efficient direction, but while Rebeck's banter is sufficiently amusing, the characters offer little to care about and the playwright offers nothing fresh in her overlying theme of the subjectivity of morality.

There are enough twists and revelations to keeps viewers on their toes, but, despite an admirable production, Poor Behavior lies flat.

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From This Author Michael Dale