Theater review by Larry Murray
In his play about a failed actress turned waitress and a short order cook who quotes Shakespeare, Terrence McNally has peopled his play Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune with two interesting characters. And very little plot. When it comes to classic love affairs, Frankie and Johnny tales are numerous, and in this case the tragic and doomed love affair is reimagined as a one-night stand that turns serious.
With the lights and classical music turned down low, the audience giggles, then laughs at the Berkshire Theatre Group’s Fitzgerald Main Stage, as this tale begins with the sounds of steamy sex and a series of ever more intense moans and groans emanating from beneath the sheets. We hear (but do not see) Frankie (Angel Desai) and Johnny (Darren Pettie) consummating their mating in a big bed that dominates the set. Resplendent and massive, it takes up what seems like half the fifth floor walk-up tenement that is Frankie’s home. Sex over, she wants to send Johnny on his way so she can enjoy the rest of the evening watching TV and eating ice cream. Out of the blue, Johnny announces he wants to spend the rest of his life with her, raise a family and have non-stop sex. She is having none of it.
That is the gist of the story which can be summarized even more simply. In the first act, Frankie makes him a meatloaf sandwich, and in the second act he makes her a western omelette. He has a beer with a milk chaser as he engages in grandiose sentiments, and she is having none of it.