‘Brooklyn Laundry’ Off Broadway Review: Cecily Strong Gets Stuck in the Spin Cycle

John Patrick Shanley’s new comedy leaves the “SNL” and “Schmigadoon!” star all wet

David Zayas and Cecily Strong in "Brooklyn Laundry"
David Zayas and Cecily Strong in "Brooklyn Laundry" (Credit: Jeremy Daniel)

For John Patrick Shanley, it’s as if cable TV never happened. The “Moonstruck” screenwriter has written an 80-minute play that would have made a respectable network TV pilot a few decades ago. That soggy comedy, titled “Brooklyn Laundry,” had its world premiere Wednesday at MTC’s New York City Center Stage.

There’s a meet cute between drop-off laundry owner Owen (David Zayas) and Fran (Cecily Strong), a customer whose laundry his establishment lost several months ago. It makes no sense. Who returns to a drop-off laundry to get your clothes washed when the place already has a track record for losing your clothes?

Even worse, Owen immediately tells Fran that she’s “gloomy,” which is an understatement. That unusual come-on ends with his asking her out on a date, which, even more unbelievably, she accepts. Maybe Fran just wants to prove she’s not gloomy.

Before that dinner date, at which they both drop mushrooms and get into a conversation about the spectacular lighting that emanates from the open grill – it’s that kind of restaurant – Fran visits her dying sister, Trish (Florencia Lozano), and they reminisce about how much fun they had as kids playing cards with their mother, now a ghost roaming the mobile home. At least Trish thinks Mom continues to lurk about. Trish remembers having a blast back then, but it’s debatable how much Fran really enjoyed her childhood, not to mention her adulthood. Let’s just say she continues to be gloomy.

There’s another sister, Susie (Andrea Syglowski), who, like Trish, has married a creep. That’s the big problem with all the women in this family, including Fran’s deceased mother: They have horrible taste in men. And that’s to say nothing of the way they decorate their homes (set design by Santo Loquasto).

Fran also has a chronic man problem, because she gets all hung up on Owen after just one act of sexual intercourse. It must have been quite a session, because Owen gets hung up on Fran after that same act of sexual intercourse. These characters are cast as middle-aged, but sound and act like hormonal teenagers, and even then, who would want to spend 80 minutes watching them?

Between loads of laundry, there’s a lot of talk and consternation about the two sisters’ three kids. Not to be a spoiler, but if the network doesn’t go for “Brooklyn Laundry,” there’s always “Full House,” if that title hasn’t already been taken.

Shanley directs his own play.

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