Losing Louie: Joan Marcus
October 26, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

I admit I haven’t done the research, but I feel confident in stating that Losing Louie is the first Broadway play to feature a running gag about a pierced clitoris. That’s the way it goes in Simon Mendes da Costa’s comedy, which calls to mind the phrase ”as funny as a funeral.” Losing Louie is a soapy, time-traveling tale of tangled lives set in a flowery upstate New York bedroom. In the 1960s, the title character is caught in a triangle with his wife and her best friend, both of whom are pregnant. The contemporary scenes take place on the day of Louie’s funeral, as his offspring bicker over old wounds, air their marital problems, and search for the will. (Weirdly, this English play has been reset in America, to no purpose whatsoever.) The subject is middle-aged malaise, but the author is more interested in tasteless, 10th-grade-level gags about circumcision, oral sex, and masturbation. A cast of pros keep their heads high, even in a scene featuring a series of notably unfunny funeral jokes. ”There should be only one stiff at a funeral,” someone remarks. They said it; I didn’t. (Tickets: Telecharge.com or 212-239-6200)

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