A solid cast consistently rises above mediocre material in "Last of the Class" at the Harlequin Dinner Playhouse, making the most--which isn't much--of this slender comedy based on two senior citizens' adventures in the Big Apple. Despite the thoughtful direction of Richard Vath, this Fred Carmichael comedy starts out with a shaky premise and proceeds pretty much on one level until its unlikely plot is played out.
Two aging college classmates are summoned to a seedy Manhattan hotel to straighten out the tangled financial affairs of a recently deceased college chum. Over the course of two days, they discover some startling news about their dead pal's line of trade, encounter the wacky inhabitants of the hotel, take on the Mafia and confront their own loneliness.
Carmichael's script is riddled with "old geezer" jokes, repetitious slams at old age that are mostly concerned with parts of the body that no longer function as efficiently as they once did. Although some of the humor is good-natured and genially self-directed, it often addresses the very real problems senior citizens face with surprisingly little sensitivity, seesawing between acknowledging the plight of the elderly and laughing at their expense. It makes for an uncomfortable mix.