The standard romantic triangle is more of a pentagram in Philip Barry’s comedy from 1939, better known for its 1940 film version starring Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and James Stewart. But the play came first, and it holds a certain allure for theater companies like Remy Bumppo, an ensemble that never met a tony accent (or erudite putdown) it didn’t like. With director Shawn Douglas at the helm, the production reaches a level of “perfectly fine,” by which I mean the ghost of the movie lingers like a bad hangover. Put another way, the play’s biggest fault is that it isn’t the film. Erica Elam, especially, is up against steep odds in the Hepburn role as a fashionable Philly socialite heading to the altar for the second time. Her wedding plans hit a snag with the unwelcome arrival of two men: a jaded tabloid reporter (Steve Key in the Stewart role), and her ex-husband (the aptly named Grant Goodman in the Grant role), who still has eyes for milady. Various family members—plus a working gal photog, drolly played by Wendi Weber, the one cast member to fully embrace an acting style true to the period—help to move the story along, but it is hard to become fully invested in any of it. Elam isn’t quite the “young, rich, rapacious female” demanded by the part (she actually comes off as quite the sweetie), and you keep waiting for anyone—the butler, even—to offer a knowing glint that would give this show some zing. Not to mention the matter of the fountain that turns up in the second act (courtesy of scenic designers Jackie and Rick Penrod), which sounds a hell of lot like someone peeing into a toilet for forty-five minutes. (Nina Metz)
At the Victory Gardens Greenhouse, 2257 N. Lincoln, (773)871-3000. This production is now closed.