LOVE CONQUERS ALL Sciorra, left, plans a trip with Aronov.

LOVE CONQUERS ALL Sciorra, left, plans a trip with Aronov. Photo: Joan Marcus

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5

Like the running bulls in the country after which it's named, Spain barrels out of its pen with little delicacy or sense of direction. A hallucinatory mosaic about a woman's passion and pain, it's neither whimsical enough to amuse nor tender enough to compel.

Smarting after her husband leaves her for a better-endowed babe, Barbara (Annabella Sciorra), who longs to visit Spain, imagines into existence her masculine ideal: a studly, 16th-century conquistador (Michael Aronov), brash and bursting with pride. He's everything Barbara wishes she were, and soon she quits her job and shakes a bloody sword at her ex (Erik Jensen). Barbara's best friend, Diversion (Veanne Cox), tries to get her to a shrink, while an ambiguous, feathered figure, Ancient (Lisa Kron), spouts wisdom.

Jim Knable's clever premise has potential as a tale about coping with life-shattering events, but it never takes off. So many scenes question Barbara's sanity and the conquistador's reality in Jeremy Dobrish's erratic MCC Theater production that the characters don't really relate to each other until some touching final moments. Sciorra makes for an appealing everywoman, but her Barbara is more flighty and neurotic than devastated and desperate, which diminishes the dramatic impact. Aronov milks laughs from his colorful soldier and deftly changes gears when he turns out to be someone quite different. In the end, this Spain is more likely to leave you saying "oy, vey" than "ol."

Lucille Lortel Theatre. By Jim Knable. Dir. Jeremy Dobrish. With ensemble cast. 1hr 45mins. One intermission.