Marvin's Room lost me quickly. Perhaps it's because I've been dealing with bunches of doctors recently and they've been wonderful, but I found Marvin's
Room's jokey, stupid physician who can't remember his patient's name and uses his teeth to open a sterile package to be offensive and anything but funny. Even less amusing are jokes about roaches in doctor's offices.
In addition, director Anne Kauffman utilizes pacing appropriate to a funeral, and while Marvin's Room is about death and dying, it's still supposed to be funny. The lethargy hastens the play's death, if not the characters'. Also, she allows Lili Taylor and Janeane Garofalo quiet, internalized performances that are possibly effective from the fifth row but come across as distant and boring from the rear orchestra. Worst of all, Celia Weston's performance seems one-dimensional and artificial, and that's got to be Kauffman's fault; Weston doesn't do one-dimensional and artificial.
The set is distractingly ugly and fails to effectively distinguish indoors from outdoors.
It may be that in the second act, things improve. I don't know. I wasn't there.
(highly discounted ticket; rear orchestra, audience left)