The quintessential mom-and-pop store struggling to survive in changing times is one of New York City’s most enduring and endearing realities. This is the dilemma faced by the owner of the eponymous Teddy's Doll House, a family-run hair salon in Alphabet City. It is 1985: The old blue-haired Italian ladies are starting to die out, the new blue-haired punk kids are starting to move in, and Teddy isn’t sure how to keep the doors open. First-time playwright Kathleen Kaan has a solid premise to work from, but her writing doesn't rise above clichéd sitcom fare, and Teddy comes across as passive and one-note. The wandering yet predictable plot takes too serious a tone for a piece that's more successful when it adheres to a broad comic style, and director Leonard Peters's funereal pacing further sucks out the fun, leaving the actors to fend for themselves to get laughs. The play could use Teddy's skill as a hairdresser: It's a messy perm in need of a solid trim and time to grow into a clearer-cut style.—Robin Rothstein
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