Theater Review: Panic

By Robin Hawden, Translated by Yaron Frid, Directed by Alon Ophir, Habima National Theater, January 13.

Taken from "Panic" (photo credit: GERHARD ALON)
Taken from "Panic"
(photo credit: GERHARD ALON)
Here’s the deal in Robin Hawden’s gleeful Panic. Roger (Nati Ravitz) is going out of town on a business trip aka tryst with his lover, Daisy (Tali Oren), which gives his wife Clarice (Ayelet Robinson) the perfect opportunity a) for a weekend with her French lover, Robert (Yoav Donat) and b) To get a quote from interior designer Rodney (Ami Smolarchik) to redo her (and set designer Alexandra Sardi’s) art-deco home. Thing is that Daisy is Clarice’s best friend. Daisy calls Clarice’s home, and it’s Roger who answers but... Well, you get the picture, as the hostess plays musical bedrooms and confusion proliferates like mushrooms.
Panic really takes off only when Kobi Maor blasts through Clarice’s front door demanding explanations with menaces. All of a sudden the audience starts laughing, lots of nice big belly laughs, the way it’s supposed to. Maor plays Daisy’s husband Bob, and uses his expressive face, voice and body, singly and together, to make his point, and you need that in farce. He’s a hoot, and he takes the others with him.
As effete, tiptoe-through-the-tulips Rodney, Smolarchik gets it right more often than not. His exchanges with Bob are joyous and there’s an inspired bit of daftness between him and Daisy.
Tali Oren has her delicious moments as Daisy – there’s those sneezes when she drinks – as do Robinson, Ravitz and Donat in their respective roles, but for the most part, they rely too much on the text to get them through, and in farce text is purely the springboard.
A fun evening at the theater? You bet. But farce needs go for broke, and this one doesn’t.