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LoveSick or Things That Don’t Happen
LoveSick zooms in on young urbanites craving love and finding it in a variety of forms, with no promises of “happily ever after.” What can a high school coed do when she is, omigod, dumped just before prom? Or what about the straight bride who doesn’t know that her groom is gay? And there are those two bridesmaids who slept with the groom, and not just once either? These are just a few of the conundrums in the world of young love.
This part rock concert/part theater musical is a Project Y Theater Company production conceived and directed by Michole Biancosino whose brother, Tony Biancosino (producer of Top Chef, The Marriage Ref ), wrote the pop/rock music and lyrics. Each song has some connection to love and is performed as the actors step out of character to play with the band.
Most of the light skits are clever, at times hilarious, with some unexpected touching moments. Aside from the emotional collisions of these couplings, humor comes from the absurd predictability of the romantic turmoils. There are also the expected giggles at the dialogue between these vocabulary-challenged characters. The same words, and you know what they are, provoke nervous audience laughter each time they are repeated. Don't expect to hear the language of Oscar Wilde here. This is the zeitgeist of today’s young adults.
Fourteen enthusiastic talents deliver convincing characterizations in the separate vignettes. Actor/singer Michael Nathanson performs as narrator, delivering anecdotes between plays, engaging the audience, and making lame jokes. He is the show's loose, fidgety anchor who keeps the pace flowing.
Jessica Varley is cute and vulnerable as Amy, the distraught, rejected teen who threatens to kill herself though all she really wants is love and attention. Aiden Sullivan and Melissa Hammans are two bridesmaids dishing about the wedding and toasting each other with champagne. Gradually, the drinking gets harder, the comments turn snarky and some nasty truths are shared, including the confession that one of the bridesmaids put arsenic in the wedding cake. . .but just a little.
Cheers! involves groom Doug (Joachim Boyle) and best man Brad (Jeff Touhy), who step into a hotel elevator to zoom up to Doug’s wedding when suddenly, the elevator has a mishap, a scary one. In their panic, confessions are shared, the groom-to-be admitting he really loves Brad while Brad confesses that he slept with the bride. And then there are those couples who would never have gotten together at all but for the unexpected turns of life and time.
Like the stories, each song stands alone with a repetitive rock beat and idiosyncratic lyrics, like Nathanson’s introductory song, “Whoa, Craa-a-a-a-azy/ I hope you know I’m craaaaaazy.” Others, like, “Dancing by Myself,” have a sincere simplicity.
The black box theater has a small platform for the band in the corner and rafters where characters perch. The audience is seated along two sides of the stage. The set iscompactly designed by Kevin Judge, with a back wall of liquor bottles that designer Joe Skowronski imaginatively lights for different moods. Obviously, Emily DeAngelis has been watching today’s 20-somethings since her costumes for the girls are cute and tight and the guys are usually scruffy, with a shirts-out, shoelaces-untied look, perfect look for this show.
For young adult audience who wants to see something contemporary and quirky, LoveSick or Things That Don’t Happen is sharp, funny, and relevant. For everyone else, in Nathanson’s closing words, “I hope you can walk out of here saying that at least it’s been better than Eat, Pray, Love."
Anything Goes Cast Recording
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Book of Mormon -CD
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Slings & Arrows-the complete set
You don't have to be a Shakespeare aficionado to love all 21 episodes of this hilarious and moving Canadian TV series about a fictional Shakespeare Company