nytheatre.com review by Pamela Butler
April 24, 2013
A scene from Scrambled Eggs | Christian Woods
Not really a play but a dramatic and humorous memoir, Scrambled Eggs begins in the present life of Karen Hoffman, who is suffering just about every ailment and complaint women of a certain pre or post menopausal age may suffer, from sudden panic attacks to the disappearance of her libido. She then loops back to recount the highlights of her episodic life. She is an everywoman, or maybe more specifically, she is a New York everywoman of a certain era, full blown in all her neurotic glory and wonderfully presented by Amy Van Nostrand.
Karen is not exceptional, in fact she’s a pretty ordinary, fairly intelligent, angst ridden, middle class girl. In the hands of Robin Amos Kahn and Gary Richards the co-playwrights, the story is ninety minutes of hilarious documentary, delivered almost exclusively by Ms. Van Nostrand who does not stop talking for the full run of the evening. Matthew Penn, the director, keeps the pace brisk and fluid as the characters in Karen’s life come and go, playing out scenes from her most important and poignant recollections.
The set, designed by Nick Francone, is slick and playful, easily supporting the many sites and situations Karen finds herself in. Les Dickert (lighting) and Scott O’Brien (sound) truly give the show its extra polish; nothing amateur here. While Karen is outfitted in one good-for-every-time-and-place outfit, Rachel Guilfoyle dresses the actors playing Karen’s friends and relations with well chosen, whimsical and colorful attire. All the production parts work together beautifully.
The many influences in Karen’s life, her parents, her husband and daughter, friends, shrinks and medical doctors are created by a handful of very versatile and talented actors -- five to be exact. They are Candace Brecker (gynecologist), Jim Frangione (husband, Dad, and more), Michael Dean Morgan (shrink and more), Ann O’Sullivan (mom, daughter and more), and Mary Catherine Wright (friend and more). They are delightful and believable in all their incarnations, especially her husband Dave, who has to be the ideal man, to endure Karen’s rocky course with such saint-like tolerance.
Many urban baby boomers, mostly the women, will relate to Karen’s trials and tribulations as she navigates her somewhat unfocussed, fearful journey from childhood to where she is now, mature and getting comfortable in her own skin. She has been anxiety ridden, agitated, prone to seeing the dark and dangerous sides of every situation, and mostly involved in thinking and worrying about herself. The state of the larger world barely exists unless it directly affects her.
She is the epitome of a self absorbed, self obsessed product of the me generation. But she is terrifically funny and human and we can recognize ourselves and our foibles in her stories and forget about the world’s problems for a bit. Whatever your age, if you’re thinking you’re all alone with your particular fears and anxieties, this light hearted, fluffy, laugh out loud funny evening of Scrambled Eggs should positively comfort and assure you, you are not.