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Jest a Second!

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Jest a Second!, Victory Gardens Theater.

James Sherman's play is so ready for prime time. All it needs is a corporate sponsor--Gerber's might be a good choice. Jest a Second! is sweet, easily digested, and just might make you gag. Like its predecessor, the monster hit Beau Jest, it might not be earthshaking theater, but it goes down easy.

If you'll remember, in the last fun-filled episode Sarah Goldman--a ditzy New Age young woman--hired a goyish actor, Bob Schroeder, to play her perfect Jewish boyfriend to please her parents, and wound up falling in love with the goof. In the follow-up to this heartwarming farce Sarah's brother Joel--a sweetie-pie nebbish--fears telling their parents he's gay. So once again Bob comes to the rescue, donning an outfit out of La Cage aux Folles to play Joel's perfect, if somewhat butch, Jewish girlfriend. In Sherman's world, even the most difficult family problems have a cute, sappy sitcom solution. Sure, coming out in Jest a Second! is fraught with angst, but by the play's end it looked like so much fun that I wanted everyone in my family to do it too. In Dennis Zacek's production, the timing of Sherman's shopworn gags and the delivery of his cloying, feel-good prose are impeccable. Roslyn Alexander and Bernie Landis have perfected their roles as the everything's-hunky-dory Jewish parents --Alexander's take on Miriam Goldman is a wonderful blend, like my Aunt Faygie and Mother Teresa put together.

In the Victory Gardens newsletter Sherman defends himself against the sitcom label critics have stuck on him, likening his farces to Charley's Aunt, Twelfth Night, and Six Degrees of Separation. Nice try, but I still say he's a lot closer to Norman Lear than King Lear.

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