Barefoot in the Park
First things first: The costumes — courtesy of designer/talk-show host/Target mascot Isaac Mizrahi — are fabulous. The beautifully tailored suits (and stuffed shirts) worn by Patrick Wilson’s square-jawed Paul, the sassy shifts and pedal pushers donned by Amanda Peet’s carefree Corie, the stunning fur swing coat Jill Clayburgh’s Ethel Banks struts around in — we love them all, and impatiently await an entire Barefoot in the Park summer line. If only the rest of the production were so well-crafted.
Neil Simon’s 1963 ode to the ups and downs of marriage may be dated (Clayburgh’s character asks if black hair would make her look ”too Mexican”), but it’s brimming with, to borrow a line from the play, color and charm. Savvy director Scott Elliott — so adept with the edgy British comedies of Mike Leigh and the like — seems positively baffled by the material. So, regrettably, does Peet, who delivers every line in a modulated screech. (Leading man Wilson fares better, though he and Peet have all the spark of a pack of wet matches.) Only Clayburgh and Tony Roberts — as eccentric neighbor Victor Velasco — nail every joke and milk every dramatic moment. And when you’re sporting a beret and a Nehru jacket (as Roberts is), that’s no small feat. (Tickets: Call Telecharge, 800-432-7250 or 212-239-6200 in the New York area, or visit Telecharge.com)