Richard Abrons' comedy about a trio of Westerners seeking advice from an Indian guru is too stretched out and sitcom-like.
The convention of an irreverent, trickster guru seems as old as the hills, and this one -- draped in saffron muslin and played with admirable energy and warmth by Kenneth Maharaj -- is clearly cut from that cloth. Yes, we first see him sitting in semi-lotus on a raised pavilion -- Don Llewellen's high-schoolish set consists of a derelict Indian temple plunked in front of a crudely painted mountainscape backdrop -- seemingly at peace mid-meditation. But what's that industrial-strength hookah doing there? (Actually, it never comes into play.) And could that be the insistent chirp of his cellphone?
The laughs don't get any rowdier from here, even after a trio of Western seekers pop in to seek his counsel. The aggressive ringleader, Travis, is an absurdly boorish caricature of a hotshot financier, played by Steven Schnetzer with a Bush-like swagger. Travis' put-upon wife, Mavis (Judith Lightfoot Clarke, who looks appropriately stricken and manages to achieve a few genuine moments), is the repressed type who has come, as Travis helpfully reminds her, to do something about "the band" she always senses compressing her chest (and perhaps impeding other parts).
Their British-born companion, Lydia, is the wild card, presumably glamorous to the point of irresistible. However, in Kathleen McNenny's depiction, she comes across as schoolmarmishly subdued. Obvious sexual frissons or no, the immediate assumption of certain secretive yearnings would not be amiss; in fact, the telegraphed signs are all but unavoidable.