A wild, wacky, eventually tiresome comedy about a smart woman yearning for a worthless man, “The Patron Saint of Sea Monsters” opened on Tuesday in the small theater upstairs at Playwrights Horizons. Happening in the woodsy boondocks, the story is shaggy with people usually wrangling in trashy rural circumstances. (Given the title, one wonders why it isn’t situated at the beach.)
Award-winning playwright Marlene Meyer (“Etta Jenks,” “Moe’s Lucky Seven”) obviously is in love with these quirky folk but her two-hour plus-sized play gives us far too much time with them. Watching these overheated, overwritten doings is like drunkenly snoozing through old reruns of “Northern Exposure.”
Even so, some of Meyer’s loopy dialogue is amusing and the actors, under Lisa Peterson’s direction, do well by its oddball inflections. Baring her teeth and evilly eyeing the audience, an often seething Candy Buckley is fairly hilarious as a trio of differently crazy mamas. Laura Heisler nicely depicts Aubrey, a fey obstetrician who abides none too wisely by the credo of a made-up saint. Rob Campbell seems believably scruffy as an alcoholic loser named Calvin who Aubrey believes to be her soul mate – even though his first wife mysteriously disappeared.