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White's Lies

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WHITE'S LIES Tuc Watkins, Peter Scolari, and Christy Carlson Romano
Ken Howard

Ben Andron’s White’s Lies is subtitled ”an outrageous new comedy”…and that’s exactly what it is. Outrageously bad. Laughably bad, in fact. And that’s not altogether a slam: There is nothing worse than an irredeemably bad play — the kind that makes you curse every single one of the precious 90 minutes you sacrificed to the cruel gods of the theater when you could have been home sorting your socks. But the Off Broadway production of White’s Lies is the other kind of bad play — the one that’s so ridiculous that you can’t help giggling at the gaping, craterlike holes in the story and the cliché-spouting characters running around Manhattan in incredibly fabulous, incredibly impractical, incredibly expensive shoes.

Here’s all you need to know: Lawyer Joe White (hunky Tuc Watkins) is a liar and womanizer (”If I wanted a hot girl on my staff, I’d go to a bar”). Mrs. White (Betty Buckley) wants a grandchild from her lying, womanizing son. Joe’s jilted college girlfriend, Barbara (Andrea Grano), needs a lawyer, and happens to have an appropriately aged daughter (Christy Carlson Romano, with charm to spare). Much lying, womanizing, and inconceivable plotting ensues. Why does Mrs. White’s mysteriously accented doctor (Jimmy Ray Bennett) bring ”test results” to Joe’s office? Why does his nurse (Rena Strober) look like she stepped out of a Frederick’s of Hollywood catalog? And why does everyone eat and drink in the same spot — which morphs, with eye-rolling predictability, from martini bar to beer-and-babe dive to cheesy tequileria to romantic bistro? Oh, honestly, why ask why?!? If you’re worrying about these things — or about the TV-sitcom trivia thrown around by Joe’s co-worker Alan (sitcom vet Peter Scolari) — you’re taking White’s Lies waaay too seriously.

Watkins gets bare-chested enough to satisfy his One Life to Live/Desperate Housewives fan base; the endearing Scolari gets a written-just-for-him Newhart joke; and Tony winner Buckley — a.k.a. Cats‘ original Grizabella, the glamour cat — gets an overcoiffed, underwritten shell of a stereotypical mother role. She also gets two pairs of lust-worthy Louboutin patent-leather pumps. With any luck, she’ll get to keep those after her initial eight-week run in White’s Lies. C

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