Few revellers attend an engagement party expecting a hearty feast, and likewise, don’t look to Lucy Teitler’s mildly raunchy comedy of manners for much nourishment. Engagements is finger-food theater: tasty enough in nibbles but leaves you wanting more and is forgotten soon after eating.
The slippage between our social and sexual selves is Teitler’s theme for this frenemy dramedy, which takes place at and between various fetes for affianced couples. Neurotic Victorian-lit scholar Lauren (Ana Nogueira) has a fraught relationship with pretty and privileged Allison (Jennifer Kim), which expresses itself in a gazebo quickie with Allison’s blandly faithless boyfriend, Mark (Michael Stahl-David). Lauren sinks deeper into guilt (and lust) when Allison begins planning her wedding to Mark.
Teitler’s bitchy banter and metatheatrical asides (delivered pretentiously on microphone) strive for wit and pathos but mainly prod along an ordinary tale of epigram-spouting narcissists who behave badly and learn to own their damage. During the scene changes in Kimberly Senior’s leaden production, the actors groove to DJ standards: “Uptown Funk,” “Electric Boogie” and the like. Those dance sequences look like the most fun they have all night.
McGinn/Cazale Theatre (Off Broadway). By Lucy Teitler. Directed by Kimberly Senior. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 30mins. No intermission. Click here for full ticket and venue information.