Set “…in the imaginary Italian city of Aviano… In the past,” we meet the amiable widowed Di Lirio and his three quirky daughters, Marina, Terresa, and Celia. He communes with his deceased wife who declares that the girls are not ready for marriage. Complications arise as each of them has at least one suitor. They have the representative names of Serio, Pomposa, Timidio, and Giovio. Farcical events are played out and resolved over the course of seventy relatively lackluster minutes.
Director Kathleen Butler’s staging is merely straightforward and lacks the requisite pacing and inventive theatrical flourishes for the show to succeed as the fizzy delight it would like to be.
Izzy Fields’ costumes are adequate and without grandeur. This is most evident during a sequence where the suitors are in drag playing their own elderly mothers and their wigs and garb look strictly bargain basement. Ms. Butler’s direction here is plodding and even the sight gag of old ladies with dueling canes doesn’t yield much laughter. There’s cause for occasional chuckling throughout but not for sustained merriment.
With the bearing of an old-time Hollywood character actor, Branislav Tomich is delightful as the patriarch Di Lirio. Roly-poly, gray haired and bearded, he marvelously veers from soft-spoken to exasperated. He is the anchor of the show.
The rest of the cast is made up of Brandon Beilis as Timidio, Nick Bombicino as Giovio, Kerry Frances as Celia, Deanna Gibson as Terresa, Stephanie Nicole Kelley as Marina, Jackson Thompson as Pomposa, and Evan Zimmerman as Serio. Though all are talented, youthful and energetic, they don’t create much impact in these roles.
Scenic designer Abby Walsh’s work consisting of a painted flat and marble benches visually captures the place and time with artful simplicity. It’s all well lit by lighting designer Alana Jacoby. Sound designer and composer Sam Kusnetz’s original music is tuneful and adds a great sense of fun.
Despite its deficiencies Delirium’s Daughters does have a collective charm that could best be appreciated by young school children during a matinee. As a full-fledged evening for mature theatergoers it’s dubious.
Delirium’s Daughters (through September 20, 2015)
The Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street, in Manhattan
For tickets, call 800-447-7400 or visit http://www.triumvirateartists.com
Running time: 70 minutes with no intermission