It shoulda been shorter.
But that’s my only real complaint about “It Shoulda Been You,” the latest musical production from Park Slope’s Gallery Players, playing through Dec. 17. The play is a bit of fluff, a frothy farce that should go down like a flute of champagne — so when the first act starts to drag, it’s like getting overserved, until the second-act palate cleanser wipe away all sins.
“It Shoulda Been You” is a mis-matched wedding comedy — the bride is Jewish, the groom is “so white-bread, he bleeds mayonnaise,” their families are appalled, and her ex-boyfriend shows up to ruin everything. The story is well-worn, but it’s well-made — the mothers meddle, the bride gets cold feet, and characters pop in and out of doorways in a Scooby Doo–esque chase sequence. So the story is predictable — until suddenly it’s not.
A twist at the end of the overlong first act is genuinely unexpected — it brought gasps from the audience — and it invigorates the second half with extra laughs and energy, dragging the plot from the sitcom conventions of the 1960s into, if not quite the present day, at least 2010, and giving every character a chance to show a new side.
Whatever the era, these performers are killing it. At the Saturday matinee this reviewer saw, they took a group of familiar characters and played them to the hilt. Gin-drinking WASP mama Georgette Howard (Lorinne Lampert), is deliciously bitchy, and she is ably matched in a passive aggressive–off against the mother of the bride (Luisa Boyaggi), in a scene that threatens to come to blows at any moment.
The secondary characters sparkle around the edges of the story. Joseph Peterson, as the fey, seemingly-omniscient wedding planner Albert, is a dream, wafting over the production and sprinkling fairy dust over the fourth wall as needed. Walter’s barely-competent assistant Walt, played by Sam Laasko, steals many of the laughs, and as does Sonya Rice, vamping it up as the boozy, man-hungry Aunt Sheila.
You’ve got two more weekends to catch this lightweight delight — just be sure to hang on until the end.
“It Shoulda Been You” at the Gallery Players (199 14th St. between Fourth and Fifth avenues in Park Slope, www.galle
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