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click to enlarge John Mahoney and Penny Slusher

John Mahoney and Penny Slusher

Michael Brosilow

When: Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through April 19 2014
Price: $25-$72
The star attraction is John Mahoney as Dan, a retired laborer who can't get over the death of the woman he's loved for 30 years. But it's Penny Slusher who provides all that's worthwhile in this world-premiere staging of a hokey two-hander by Irish playwright Christian O'Reilly. Slusher plays Betty, an aging divorcee with nothing but a brood of cats (19 of them "and counting," she says) to take the edge off her loneliness. Literally running into Dan at the vet's, she sets about bringing both him and herself back to life. If only she could do the same for the show as a whole. Between the formulaic script and a miscast Mahoney, however, that's impossible. Still, Slusher enlivens her every moment onstage with a bittersweet ebullience that bubbles over every so often into little dances of everyday transcendence. When Betty dons a ridiculous red party dress and asserts that she looks lovely in it, we have to admit she's right. —Tony Adler

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