Quiet Enjoyment

Playroom Theater, Manhattan

Is this comical tale as thrilling as a love affair or as boring as a real estate closing?

By Andrew Andrews

Meredith (Samantha Mercado Tudda) makes Abe (Mario Claudio) scream "Uncle!" as Karma (Megan Simard) snaps a selfie of the action. Original photo by Mozinya Productions.

As part of their divorce, Peter has agreed to transfer ownership of his co-op apartment to Juliana.

Peter's concubine—a hippie half his age named Karma—has accompanied him to the closing, and nobody else is particularly happy about her presence.

To further complicate matters, Peter is anxiously waiting for a wire transfer from his offshore bank account to pay off the mortgage, or the deal won't go through.

The Playroom Theater occupies the space vacated by The Tank when they moved closer to Penn Station a few years ago. Returning for the first time since the move reminded us of the many great episodes of Rule of 7x7 we saw here, as well as other good and not-so-good productions. And so we wondered, where would Quiet Enjoyment fall on that spectrum?

The answer, it turned out, was somewhere in the middle. The writing spans the comedy gamut from Three Stooges-style slapstick to more subtle humor; even the program gets in on the act, with a disclaimer that “this production contains adult themes, strong language and real estate terminology.”

We found ourselves laughing out loud with the rest of the audience on more than one occasion, and although the tension was a little lighter and the antics a bit more sophomoric on average than I’d prefer, the plot was reasonably entertaining. There was enough going on to hold my interest through the final scene, although I was faked out a couple of times, expecting the lights to go out after a line that sounded like a closer, but in fact really wasn’t.

In a word, I’d say everything in this production was reasonable—meaning not at all bad, but not especially noteworthy, either. There was a bit of a disconnect between the skill of the actors and the roles they were given, with stronger performances by those lower on the bill. If you can snag a five or ten dollar discount, the show will definitely be worth the price. But even as it stands. Quiet Enjoyment is at least worth navigating the hustle and bustle of Times Square in order to see it—and considering how much I’d prefer to avoid that mess, I can’t think of a more positive endorsement.

Andrew Andrews attended Quiet Enjoyment at Playroom Theater in Manhattan on Saturday, October 19, 2019 @ 7:00pm to write this review.