"Relatively Speaking," which features three one-act plays by Woody Allen, Elaine May and Ethan Coen, is a disappointment despite its pedigree. NY1's Roma Torre filed the following review.
For those of you old enough to remember the days when anything written by Woody Allen and Elaine May was a major event, "Relatively Speaking," featuring three one acts by Allen, May and Ethan Coen is little more than a big bloated tease. For the rest of you, if you want to know how this embarrassment made it to Broadway in the first place, stay home and rent some of their old stuff instead.
It begins with Ethan Coen's contribution entitled "Talking Cure" about an inmate in a mental ward whose therapy sessions with an increasingly exasperated doctor seem to be going nowhere...which is exactly where this one act does go as it abruptly shifts gears years earlier with a scene involving the inmate's bickering parents. Danny Hoch as always is fun to watch.
Next is Elaine May's piece called "George is Dead." It's the closest of the three to a complete work but that's not saying much. Marlo Thomas plays a ditzy zillionaire whose husband has just died and, seeking comfort, she ends up at the home of her former nanny's daughter. Credit both Thomas and Lisa Emery for giving it their best shot but what really dies here is the comedy.
Finally, there's Allen's "Honeymoon Motel" straight from the borscht belt. The setup involving what appears to be a newly wedded couple in a tacky motel does start out kinda funny but when it's revealed that's not the groom preparing to bed the bride, it's the groom's father, the whole thing turns into a freakish reminder of Allen's affair with young Soon-Yi. And as the rest of this attempted farce grows more and more frantic and less and less funny we find Allen's bizarre plot twist is really just twisted.
John Turturro gets directing credit here but credit is sadly the wrong word. Blame is more like it. Though let's be fair, relatively speaking, there's plenty of blame to go around!