Joan Marcus
Melissa Rose Bernardo
November 27, 2007 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Receptionist

type
Stage
Current Status
In Season
run date
10/30/07
performer
Jayne Houdyshell
director
Joe Mantello
author
Adam Bock

We gave it a B+

In Adam Bock’s ’05 flight of fancy Swimming in the Shallows, a man romanced a shark. In his sharp black comedy The Receptionist, the sharks wear suits and feed off the title character, played with a remarkable mix of tsk-tsk superiority and Midwestern warmth by Jayne Houdyshell. She contrasts terrifically with the brittle beauty of co-worker Kendra Kassebaum, reticence of boss Robert Foxworth, and boyish charm of bigwig Josh Charles. Bock gives them all dark sides. That he refuses to fill in the blanks — what do they do for a living, anyway? — is both gimmicky and admirable. (212-581-1212) B+

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