Fuddy Meers, Apple Tree Theatre. The performances in this midwest premiere of David Lindsay-Abaire's comedy about an amnesiac are excellent, each eccentric character played fully without ever becoming silly. Wendi Weber is wonderful as the effervescent Claire, a woman who wakes up each day with no recollection of what happened the day before.
The play covers an eventful day in the life of the sunny amnesiac, who revels in her moments of lucid recollection: she's abducted by a man with a deformed ear, a limp, and a lisp (Stephen Full), but her husband (the delightfully funny Will Clinger) is determined to get her back. Adding to the absurdity are Claire's angry adolescent son (Jamie Kolacki); her mother (the feisty Peggy Roeder), who has a poststroke speech impediment; a man with an extreme attachment to a potty-mouthed puppet (Will Casey, outstanding in this role); and a prison cook dressed as a cop (Kathleen Puhls). The cast plays this evening of fast-paced patter, shifting suspicions, and bizarre events with complete nonchalance.
Yet despite the ensemble's best efforts, Lindsay-Abaire's strange play, directed by Ernest Zulia, is never as funny or as scary as one might hope. Though it has all the distortions of the fun house mirrors the title refers to (in the mother's "stroke talk"), it doesn't elicit the emotional response or intellectual realizations that would make it great theater.