When antics grow frantic; Passione Comedy by Albert Innaurato. Directed by Frank Langella
Albert Innaurato's "Passione" illustrates what can happen when antics grow frantic, the bizarre goes berserk, and far-out farce plunges into low-down burlesque. Imagine a TV sitcom that never got past the pilot stage or the network censors and you have a rough idea of the frenzied goings on at the Morosco Theater.
Jerry Stiller, his hair curled and his comic resources largely wasted, plays an Italo-American would-be inventor. His estranged wife (Angela Paton) turns up from her native North Carolina to collect the packing cases she left behind when she walked out on spouse Berto and their son 10 years previously. The imbroglios in the run-down south Philadelphia apartment designed by David Gropman involve assorted blood relations and in-laws, most of whom range from the unsympathetic to the repulsive.
Making his directorial debut with "Passione" that fine actor, Frank Langella, seems to have proceeded on the axiom: When in doubt, overdo. Mr. Innaurato, whose "Gemini" has been running congenially for nearly 3 1/2 years at the Little Theater, has let things get entirely out of hand in his latest entry.