Theater: The Mineola Twins

By Paula Vogel

Her acclaimed How I Learned to Drive took a simple premise--a young woman recalls an uncle's sexual abuse--and gave it psychological complexity. This earlier work, making its off-Broadway debut, takes a complex premise--twin sisters embody women's changing roles from the 1950s through the '80s--but hammers it with obviousness. Swoosie Kurtz plays both the "good" sister Myrna, who goes from soda-fountain virgin to Republican matron, and the "bad" Myra, who becomes a radical terrorist. The play depends too heavily on easy pop-cultural cliches and the usual hit parade of nostalgic oldies. Forget the play; bring back Teresa Brewer!

--By Richard Zoglin...

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