As Bees in Honey Drown

Rated 4.0

Last fall, the B Street Theatre staged Douglas Carter Beane’s The Little Dog Laughed, a dark comedy set in the Hollywood meatgrinder, full of deception and betrayal, with the added element of confused sexual preferences.

Now Lambda Players offers an earlier Beane play, As Bees in Honey Drown, likewise fueled by vanity, fame and people on the make. This time, the setting is New York, with its galleries and publishers.

We meet writer Evan Wyler (well played by actor Matthew Abergel), a starving artist whose first book is making a splash. He’s seized by the elegant, wealthy Alexa Vere de Vere (Kristen Wagner), who chatters at a frantic pace, name dropping as she flies. She wants Wyler to write a screenplay, about herself, of course.

Then we’re off on a dizzying spree—fancy restaurants, expensive clothes—as Alexa repackages Evan for the glittering, successful life ahead. Evan, who’s gay, even finds himself falling for his patron/mentor.

Need we suggest that Alexa is not everything she appears to be? And that Evan, once he realizes he’s been taken for a ride, cooks up a delicious form of revenge?

Wagner is vivid as Alexa, almost constantly on stage (and talking). Director Bob Cooner gets good performances out of his supporting cast, and the production feels more integrated and coordinated than most community productions.