by Kate Fodor
Directed by Ethan McSweeney
A Production of Primary Stages
at 59E59

Reviewed by David Spencer

The editor of a glossy pig farming industry magazine, Meena (Marin Hinkle) is not happy in her work. She enters a drug trial conducted by a major pharmaceutical company, testing an anti-depressant drug meant to enable workplace satisfaction. She doesn't fit within the easy categorization of the questionnaire (among other complexities, she was once a published prose poet) Her assigned physician Phil (Stephen Kunken) is a very strait-laced type, however—but rather than try to contain, control or otherwise manage her idiosyncrasy, he finds himself accommodating it more and more. Which brings him closer and closer to violating the ethical protocols of the trial. And such is the premise of RX by Kate Fodor, presented by Primary Stages at 59E59.

                        Under the brisk direction of Ethan McSweeney, the play manages to maintain a delicate balance between cynical social satire—the target of course being how Big Drugs seek to create dependent customers, whether they truly need help or not—and sappy romantic comedy; and the balance is achieved delightfully too, rather like a cross-breeding of Paddy Chayefsky and Nora Ephron. It’s never quite predictable and in the end, quite satisfying. Dare I say it: a prescription for mildly thought-provoking fun. Rounding out the expertly comic cast are Michael Bakkensen, Marylouise Burke, Paul Niebanck and Elizabeth Rich.

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