Is there a prescription for happiness? That's the question at the heart of Rx, Kate Fodor's featherweight 2012 satire of both the rapaciousness of Big Pharma and America's propensity to treat life's deeper disappointments with whatever is readily available across the drug counter.
Mina Badie is delightful as Meena, a failed poet whose job as the "piggeries" editor of the trade publication American Cattle & Swine Magazine sends her into despairing, crying jags over the feeling, "I was meant for better things."
Her salvation comes in the form of the equally unhappy and socially awkward Dr. Phil Gray (the fine Jonathan Pessin) and the drug trial he's conducting for "SP-925," a medication designed to treat the low levels of "nora-epin-ephron" that his pharmaceutical multinational employer claims is the cause of workplace depression - "It's a disease ... we hope," he tells her.
When the two begin an extracurricular - and highly unethical - affair, however, the lines between any efficacy of the drug and the couple's burgeoning love become hopelessly entangled.
Though Fodor's few trenchant ironies tend to get lost amid the playwright's weakness for sitcom glibness, a superb ensemble and director John Pleshette's polished and breezy staging (abetted by Nicholas Davidson's crisp lights and Joseph "Sloe" Slawinski's witty sound) deliver enough laughs to satisfy anyone's nora-epin-ephron jones.
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RX, by Kate Fodor. The Lost Studio, 130 S. La Brea Ave., Hancock Park. Through March 1. (323) 960-7780, plays411.com/rx
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