Theater archives

Limp at the Firm


This is how I picture Vick’s Boy getting produced. It’s Tuesday morning, a few months ago. Daryl Roth, in her robe and plush slippers, has her feet up on the coffee table. She’s biting into a croissant held in her left hand and flipping through the brand-new New Yorker with her right. She reads the favorable capsule review of Things You Shouldn’t Say Past Midnight, muttering as she goes. When she finishes, she tosses the magazine onto the table, slams the croissant down on top of it, stands akimbo and narrows her eyes as she stares through her picture window at the skyline. “If Jean Doumanian can have a successful light sex comedy,” she growls, “goddammit, so can I!”

Whether or not it happened that way, Vick’s Boy still has an aura of secondhandness. You can see it in the incidental set pieces, festooned with line drawings of wastepaper baskets and pencils or mailboxes and bushes. You can feel it in the wobbly performances of some of the actors. You can hear it in the sitcom-ready dialogue. In fact, the only thing that sets this farce apart from an episode of Just Shoot Me is the moment of full-frontal male nudity and the length. Of the show. Plot synopsis: Smarmy lawyer approaches nebbishy guy in communications department of law firm to videotape him having sex with a partner in the firm (female) so he can blackmail her and get promoted. Hilarity ensues. Performances: With excellent timing, Andrew Polk does a very good job of keeping the nebbish human. Prediction: Ben Bettenbender will leave live theater for a successful television-writing career. Live theater will thank him for doing so.