Feature photo: Jessica Bedford, Greg Wood, Susan Riley Stevens, and Jake Blouch. By Mark Garvin
Meteor showers can be a beautiful event to witness. Steve Martin’s Meteor Shower is also beautiful…and strange, hilarious, unbelievable, and honest. Martin’s one-act play takes the audience through the ups and downs of marriage. The high points and the bliss, the low points and the apologies, saying what you mean and what you shouldn’t mean, laughs, sadness, faithfulness and truths. It’s very real…despite a few scenes that make you think, “that would never happen!” But they could!
The show takes place during the evening of a meteor shower. California couple Corky and her husband Norm invite another couple over to experience the event with them. Though Corky and Norm don’t know Gerald and Laura very well, they look forward to an evening chatting with new and somewhat mysterious people. Both couples love each other, but the way they love each other and express their feelings are very different. Gerald and Laura are impulsive and full of themselves. They say what’s on their minds and don’t always think before they speak. Corky and Norm appear to be straight edged and dance around one another, they are kind and try not to offend or upset. At least at first. But when Laura and Gerald enter their home, chaos follows and an enjoyable night filled with wine and conversation turns into something totally unexpected and odd.
Corky and Norm are played by real-life married couple Susan Riley Stevens and Greg Wood. No wonder I was impressed with their chemistry on stage. Both are well known to the Walnut Street stage, too. So the familiar faces made Meteor Shower even more relatable. Jake Blouch and Jessica Bedford, as Gerald and Laura, also have been part of various shows at the Walnut. Blouch was perfect as Gerald, and he and Bedford were so enjoyable to watch as they became more and more unlikable. We all know a couple like Gerald and Laura, unfortunately!
Do the two couples influence one another as their evening continues on? Yes, they definitely do. How? What happens when these four people get to know one another over the course of an evening, with a viewing of the meteor shower as their only common tie?
Steve Martin writes so well. The plot is simple enough as we look into married life and how people live day to day with their significant others. What complex, though, is how strange some of the conversations are and how these characters unfold. The dialogue and jokes are very clearly Martin, with quirky lines and scenes that could be further developed into short sketches on a late night comedy show. Not once did my mind wander, I was completely drawn to the story and these characters the entire time.
Personally, I couldn’t wait for this season to start so I could see Meteor Shower. It’s the one show I was truly bummed about missing during the limited Broadway run (where it broke the sales record for the Booth Theatre). Philadelphia is so lucky to host the first regional theatre production of Meteor Shower since it left Broadway.
Meteor showers are breathtaking, something not to miss if you have the opportunity to catch one. Meteor Shower also should not be missed. The play leaves you with a lot to think about. Maybe even enough to see it again before it closes on October 27th. Walnut Street Theatre knocks it out of the park (and the sky) with their opening shows this season. For tickets to Meteor Shower and Young Frankenstein (read our review here), visit http://www.walnutstreettheatre.org.