Review: Standing on Ceremony---The Gay Marriage Plays

Alternative lifestyles reach for the altar onstage.

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  • Photograph: Joan Marcus

    Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage PlaysMinetta Lane TheatreCast List:Craig...

    Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays at Minetta Lane Theatre

  • Photograph: Joan Marcus

    Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage PlaysMinetta Lane TheatreCast List:Craig...

    Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays at Minetta Lane Theatre

  • Photograph: Joan Marcus

    Standing on Ceremony

    Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays at Minetta Lane Theatre

  • Photograph: Joan Marcus

    Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage PlaysMinetta Lane TheatreCast List:Craig...

    Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays at Minetta Lane Theatre

Photograph: Joan Marcus

Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage PlaysMinetta Lane TheatreCast List:Craig...

Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays at Minetta Lane Theatre

Time Out Ratings

<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5

The most perfect union in Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays turns out to be, ironically, between a man and a woman: Paul Rudnick, who wrote two of the show's nine playlets, and the impeccably frenetic Harriet Harris, who mashes them like tangerines for every drop of sweet, tart juice. Rudnick's pieces earn roars of laughter as Harris jerks them to multiple comic climaxes. On the opposite end of the stylistic continuum, Moiss Kaufman's London Mosquitoes—a poignant eulogy for a longtime companion, delivered with moving restraint by Richard Thomas—flies at comparable heights of intensity.

The other shorts in this collection, which could be called Eight Weddings and a Funeral, make less of an impression, in part because they all presuppose a rather cozy, normative vision of gay relationships. Polly Draper and Beth Leavel play lesbian couples in warm, chatty works by Wendy MacLeod and Mo Gaffney; Craig Bierko and Mark Consuelos pose as grooms in Neil LaBute's ominous rice-potboiler, which bears the title Strange Fruit. Contributions by Jordan Harrison and Doug Wright fill out the program agreeably enough, but Jos Rivera's wedding-vow finale strikes a tone less lavender than faintly purple. (The mush factor is intensified by sudden rainbow lighting on the already tacky set.)

Directed by Stuart Ross along the staged-reading lines of The Vagina Monologues and Love, Loss, and What I Wore—but without those shows' cohesive authorial voice—Standing on Ceremony is set up to be a long-term production, with new stars (and perhaps new pieces) shuffled in as needed; it will be interesting to see how it fares without Harris and Thomas at the altar. The show's highlights make it an event worth attending, but as quality goes, this anthology on homosexual marriage is a pretty heterogeneous affair.

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Minetta Lane Theatre. By various authors. Dir. Stuart Ross. With ensemble cast. 1hr 30mins. No intermission. See complete event information

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