I'm in Love with Your Wife
nytheatre.com review by James Comptois
July 15, 2007
Apparently Gary's wife is one hot dish.
How do we know this? Not because we ever meet her (we don't), and not because Gary won't shut up about how hot she is, but because both Gary's best friend and Gary's best friend's wife are in love with her and having hot steamy sex with her as often as possible.
In I'm In Love With Your Wife, Gary, a milquetoast doormat who is in some sort of therapy where he describes his feelings in colors to an inept therapist obsessed with Jon Voigt, meets with his best friend Paul at work one day. Paul confesses to him that, well, he's in love with Gary's wife, and that they've been sleeping together for a while.
Trying to put a stop to it, Gary meets with Paul's wife, Gail, who also confesses to an affair with Gary's wife (unbeknownst to Paul).
Rather than forcefully confront Paul, Gail, or even his wife, Gary decides (at the suggestion of his therapist, Dr. Feldberg) to go ahead with a planned dinner party with the two couples, with Dr. Feldberg attending and observing (along with his date Ruth, another patient who's an aspiring actress, who decides to portray herself as a forlorn Ukrainian woman).
As you can probably tell from the above summary, I'm In Love With Your Wife is a very silly comedy where the characters are very broad caricatures doing very unbelievable things for 90 minutes.
And therein lies the problem: this is a premise for a sitcom, not a 90-minute play. And by premise for a sitcom, I mean an episode, not a series. Alex Goldberg's script is too ridiculous and the characters are too thinly drawn for the audience to actually care about them beyond cheap laughs. In other words, are we really supposed to be emotionally invested in Gary's attempts to become assertive? Are we really supposed to care about Paul and Gail's marital problems, or worry if they discover each other's infidelities?
Some of the comedy works, like when Gail sensuously massages—well, paws at—Gary's difficult yet perky assistant Bethany to prove she's not gay. Some of it doesn't, like when Dr. Feldberg incessantly comes up with one-liners on all things Voigt.
Now, I don't want to give the impression that I'm In Love With Your Wife isn't funny; it actually is. When the humor works, it really works. When it doesn't, it's very awkward and wears out its welcome very quickly. Ultimately, the play made me laugh loudly on several occasions, and the cast is quite amusing. In particular, Monica Yudovich as Bethany is thoroughly enjoyable every time she's onstage. Shane Jacobsen is also especially amusing as Gary's lothario friend.
Ron Palillo, best known as Horshack from the television series Welcome Back Kotter, is a bit hit-or-miss as Dr. Feldberg, although I'm not certain if that's the result of the performance itself or of my not being wild about his character's obsession with Jon Voigt.
If I'm In Love With Your Wife were a 20-minute piece, perhaps I could recommend it more. It's premise and tone is better suited in short form.