Thinking outside the box

Love And Betrayal

By David Rush
Directed by Stephen Sunderlin
Con Spirito Productions
Equity showcase (closed)
Review by John Chatterton

This play offers many charms, not the least an unerring ear for youngish, middle-class and not-quite-middlebrow, heterosexual Americans - a change of pace on that relentlessly brittle, self-conscious Rialto Off-Off-Broadway.

The situation ("plot" is too strong a word) concerns Harley (Robert Hutt McLeod), who is still hung up on his ex-girlfriend, who is going to marry an old friend of his. He obsesses on their wedding invitation to the point of so infuriating his girlfriend, Bailey (Alicia Minshew) that she is ready to walk out on him. He even wears out his old friends Loot (Damon DiMarco), Civil (Michael Connors), French (George R. Sheffey), and Ruby (Jonathan Bray), and female buddy Georgia (Alex Sapot), who also want to go to the wedding but don't want to show disloyalty to their friend.

The dramatic problem with the script is that Harley continues to obsess about the wedding well into the second act. Indeed, the ending comes as somewhat of a surprise (a double wedding? It's not clear, but the old flame and her husband are there) when Harley marries Alicia. This could be the start of a real second act, in which Harley's old friends have a hard time adapting to their bachelor surrogate (they're already married) and his change of state.

Despite the weaknesses of the script, which led to an incessant amount of circular talk on the same subject, the cast performed their duties well - though more vocal technique would have helped dispel the illusion that the audience was glued to the Box. Connors as the tastelessly humorous Civil and Sheffey as the slow-witted but thorough French were particularly amusing.

Director Sunderlin shouldered his burdens with a will and kept this slow-moving boat from dirfting onto the shoals. Costumes and lighting sufficed. The set (Kimo James), while ingeniously hinged to convert a bachelor pad into a function room (albeit one resembling a basement at the Elks), could have used some techniquing to enliven the flat latex that covered much of it.

If ever they let you say "fuck" on TV, this play will be first in line for adaptation to the medium. (Music, Bobby Siems and Mike Crehore.)

Box Score:

Writing: 1
Directing: 1
Acting: 1
Set: 1
Costumes: 1
Lighting/Sound: 1

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Copyright 1998 John Chatterton