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Theatre Review: Robyn Is Happy

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, March 14, 2013
There have been plenty of comedies recently about men behaving badly, and shows about people who betray their colleagues - taking difficult topics and handling them in darkly humorous terms.
Well, the B Street Theatre ups the ante with their current comedy, "Robyn Is Happy." The story involves three women, who have been friends since childhood, through thick and thin. 
Hannah: The three of us have seen each other through so much.

Trudy: So much - your herpes…

Hannah: Yes.

Trudy: Divorce, divorces, finding your biological father, at least where he was buried. Your heavy metal phase…

Bulimia and botched suicide attempts figure in this conversation, too. But the topic on the table is intervention. One character just got caught during the Christmas party at the office, having a drunken tryst with a much younger man from the mail room.
Hannah: "Robyn, Robyn, Robyn."

Robyn: "What?"

Hannah: "He's disabled."

Trudy: "Don't!"

Hannah: "Mentally disabled. OK, then he's challenged. OK, I'm not going to sugar coat it. He's mentally disable, or challenged, or both. Severely."

Robyn: "Oliver is neither that or the other."

Hannah: "Oliver?"

Robyn: "He has Asperger's. Huge difference."

This scene illustrates the problem with this play - trying to get racy humor out of an affair involving a 20-something with Asberger's Syndrome isn't really funny. Later on there's some handgun humor that felt out of place, too.
Comedy, of course, is very subjective, and some people will find this show daring and funny. It is a well-executed production; the acting is strong, the direction is savvy. But there could have been fewer jokes about abusive spouses and one night stands. And there's a lot of meanness between these theoretical friends. In the end, I felt relieved to get away from these three women, blabbing about their teased-up dramas and personal desires.
Robyn Is Happy continues at the B Street Theatre through April 14th.
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