Failure is not always a negative and in the case of Tony Glazer’s new play In The Daylight, even though the work is not a total success there are more than enough redeeming factors to make it worth seeing, especially considering the cost effective ticket price. It’s equal parts Alfred Hitchcock and Groucho Marx, which makes for an interesting combination even though the toggle switch gets stuck occasionally while weaving between the comedy and the thrills. The play focuses on a famed writer returning home to his family to face and confront his demons and while the dialogue is sharp and occasionally terrifically sarcastic, the story itself feels too constructed at times.

Ultimately, who cares because the performance by Concetta Tomei as Elizabeth Feingold, the writer’s mother, is so fantastic that it’s worth the ticket price alone even with a few line flubs. She’s a snarky, quick witted Cougaresque mother and brings the stage to life from the moment she steps into the scene. Her portrayal deserves flamboyant praise along the lines of the verbal equivalent of sequins and a techno dance party and beckons of Liz Taylor as played by Cloris Leachman. The rest of the cast is hit and miss and sometimes both with Joe Urla never really finding the right mark as the central character, author Martin Feingold and Ashley Austin Morris hitting a good mark playing an obsessed, witless fan but as the story unfolds and the character develops the performance is a bit spotty.

Ultimately, the piece as a whole looks at the idea of family strength in a very askew manner as the second act dramatically changes the context of what is presented early on and, in all, it’s entertaining. The set adds another layer to the off-beat subtext with a literal slant highlighting the underlying metaphorical one and when paired with the lighting design, it really helps elevate the drama. The brutal and comic verbal jabs between the characters along with a wonderful performance by Concetta Tomei are the highlights and certainly make the play worth a look.

Tony Glazer’s In The Daylight will run through October 11 at the McGinn Cazale Theatre (2162 Broadway, 4th floor at 76th Street). For more information including the performance schedule, and to purchase tickets, go HERE.

Tim Needles

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