NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Tuesday, October 20, 2015, 9:00 PM
A bet that spins out of control is a sitcom staple and, now, the crux of “Ripcord,” a non-essential and not very funny new comedy.
The show, directed by David Hyde Pierce, marks author David Lindsay-Abaire’s return to the Manhattan Theatre Club, which launched his earlier plays “Fuddy Meers,” “Kimberly Akimbo,” the Pulitzer-winning “Rabbit Hole” and “Good People.”
The endearing Marylouise Burke, an actress who radiates more warmth than a sunbeam, is in full command of her role as the ever-cheery Marilyn. Classy Holland Taylor is much less at-ease as the always grumpy Abby, her reluctant roommate in an assisted-living residence.
The women make a bet. If Abby wins, Marilyn moves out. If Marilyn wins, she gets the bed by the window. Marilyn’s daughter (Rachel Dratch) and son-in-law (Daoud Heidami) get in on the game. Same goes for a nice-guy attendant (Nate Miller) and Abby’s estranged son (Glenn Fitzgerald).
Kooky twists and dark turns are straight from the Lindsay-Abaire playbook, so a haunted house, a skydiving scene and nasty antics are quirky but not all that surprising. That the author tries to wring chuckles out of senior citizen spewing profanity is shockingly uninspired.
In the end in the play, a winner gets what she desires. Audience members hoping for substantial laughter and impact from “Ripcord” are left wanting.