Sean and Fiona Lynch, a mature couple of substance, made it from the bogs of Ireland to the pinnacle of success, a Manhattan penthouse apartment where they dwell in modern luxury served by a Central American maid. In intimate moments the couple likes to sink back into their Irish dialect, almost like other couples might spark in baby talk. Sean (Todd Waring) is a Wall Street moneyman, handsome and smart, his loving wife Fioina (Diane Cary) well groomed and svelte. Fiona has a sister, Kat (Andrea Evans), a much married and divorced socialite proud to head up a charitable foundation sustained, in part, by Sean’s financial wizardry.
Kat has a problematic stepdaughter, Lily (Amielynn Abellera), a brilliant, willful young woman, a champion sailor just out of treatment. She entreats her brother-in-law to find Lily a job in his firm, which he does in good humor. Turns out that Lily is a mathematical whiz adept of the differential-integral-calculus type. Sean, impressed, shows her his financial model and they are off to the races.
It all sounds nice, fine times among the elite. But Sean is a sinner in multiple ways, the least of it a lusty affair with a step-niece half his age.
Andrea Lepcio’s new play, Dinner at Home between Deaths bills itself as a pitch-black comic thriller. Interesting enough as a chamber drama, the play is not comedy. The laughs are sparse and some of the real or attempted deaths of the title are absurd, but not particularly funny. Well, maybe trying to off someone with a nut allergy by throwing peanuts might raise a chortle. In the last fifteen minutes or so the show seems to run out of gas.
There is something here that has the makings of some pretty good theatre, but it would take a rewrite to achieve. I don’t fault the actors who do the best they can with the material.
I love black comedy. Ever see the hilarious film, War of the Roses that starred Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito? That is pitch black comedy. Comedy is notoriously difficult to write or perform. “Dying is easy;” said Edmund Kean, “comedy is hard.” In Dinner at Home between Deaths, I kept hoping for something absurd, like one of the victims showing up sopping wet.
That would be funny.
Dinner at Home between Deaths runs through May 8 at Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd. Los Angeles.