Lyric's 'Over 40' familiar, but agreeable enough


'Over Forty'

Where: Lyric Opera House

When: Tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3 p.m.

Tickets: $20-$25.

Call: 481-6000.

Stars: **

"Over Forty" musically runs through a lot of familiar middle-age material, but it's agreeable enough that the four female characters who tell and sing about their lives had no trouble holding the interest of a full house at the Lyric Opera House last night.

Although there is nothing particularly sophisticated or insightful about this broadly written show, at least you always feel as if these are real women talking about the life experiences they've all known as black women.

The most engaging of the characters is Gwen (winningly played by Eunice Newkirk), who has just hit the big 4-0. She's recently divorced, has a teen-age daughter, and has mixed feelings about entering the singles scene again. Because Gwen belonged to a neighborhood "girl group" in her youth, the show is given a somewhat flimsy excuse for a medley of finger-snapping doo-wop tunes.

Her fortysomething companions are a single lawyer named Beryl (Marisa Francesca Turner); a married businesswoman, Patricia (La'Rita Gaskins); and the long-married and very devout Annie Ruth (played with unfunny overstatement by Lady Peachena).

It's too bad that "Over Forty" doesn't do much with the relationships between the four women, but this is indicative of a show that adequately sketches the over-40 situation without fully fleshing out the stories. And speaking of underdeveloped, the set amounts to a platform that looks like it cost $25 and could have been brought to the Lyric in a pickup truck.

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