Something must be weird in the water in Mineola. The town is so boring that it didn't even have a Red Scare. The only controversy worth noting is whether "Catcher in the Rye" should be in the school library.
And yet Mineola produced Myrna and Myra, wacky identical twins who walk at opposite ends of the personality parade.
Myra is the bad twin - on-purpose bad. She's a fledgling beatnik when we first meet her, digging the "deep" scene in the Village. At school the joke goes: What does Myra say after having sex? "Are you all on the same team?" According to Myrna, the devil rocked Myra's cradle when mother was out of the room.
Myrna, the good twin, is so unhip she mixes up Arthur Miller and Joe DiMaggio. In "Green-wich" Village, she's appalled to find out, "an awful lot of girls are wearing pants down there."
Myra makes all the guys happy, while Myrna makes her steady, Jim (Dava Jones), suffer horribly. "I'm a lonely man on school nights," he moans. (Jim finds a couple of pluses, though: By an odd anatomical fluke the chaste twin has a formidable edifice up front while the town tramp doesn't.)
The play carries these two scrapping opposites through three decades, from the Eisenhower era and on to the Nixon and Reagan/Bush years. First it's about virginity, then Vietnam, then abortion - the fight goes on. Eventually the deep sibling connections take over and the twins begin to merge into odd mirror images of one another.
Buffalo United Artists production of this funny play by Pulitzer prize winner Paula Vogel may not be exactly what the playwright had in mind. But it doesn't matter. This is a broad, delightfully camp version that beats with a vinyl heart borrowed from John Waters.
Caitlin Coleman, playing both Myrna and Myra, is a comic phenomenon. Her delivery - with an occasional nod to Jim Carrey - is priceless. Her battery of accompanying facial expressions - now goofily quizzical, now mockingly self-righteous - adds immensely to the hilarity. She is often funnier than her lines: "I've never held anything more dangerous than a soup ladle" simply should not be as funny as Coleman makes it. I can't remember a single flat moment. She's fantastic.
Coleman gets lots of support. Katie White pulls out the stops when she's the hippy-wannabe teen Kenny and then goes starched-stiff for the right-wing youth, Ben (who's campaigning for a White History Month).
Coleman finds her comic equal in Eric Rawski, a Secret Agent and a key figure in the inspired material that director Kelli Bocock-Natale adds to get from scene to scene. He's a great body comic and is almost as good with voice. His brief stint as a school teacher who speaks only gibberish is particularly unforgetable.
Kate Elliott is more low key as the second agent but has many successful comic moments. Jones, who is an amusingly sad-sack Jim, makes a shaky transition to Sarah, Myra's lesbian lover.
Whoever did the costumes is well practiced in the fine art of putting together hideous colors and textures. Little savvy touches with the props - like the Acme Bomb Company reference - add to the insanity. And Chris Kelly's wigs are great, particularly Myra's towering pink beehive in Act I.
It's Bocock-Natale's sharp pacing that holds all this wonderful patchwork of dreams and punctured reality together. Her inventive hi-jinks are so trimly
THE MINEOLA TWINS *** 1/2 < WHAT: Good twin Myrna and evil twin Myra battle it out over three decades in Paula Vogel's comedy. Directed by Kelli Bocock-Natale and starring Caitlin Coleman
WHEN: Through Oct. 8
WHERE: Buffalo United Artists, 884 Main St.
ADMISSION: $10 to $17