Thursday, April 14, 2011

Does Love Song Live Up To Its Trailer?

With so many shows opening this month both on and off Broadway, it's hard to narrow down the options. After seeing the trailer for John Kolvenbach's Love Song, I added it to my list (marketing matters). The lines in the trailer are taken directly from the play, but they are more compelling with the striking footage in the video, which makes me wonder when Love Song will be turned into an indie film. As for the play, the writing can be distancing, but Andrew Pastides's performance makes it easy to get sucked in.

The show begins with a dimly lit Pastides sitting in a chair as a lamp lowers towards him. He moves out of the way, sliding across the chair in what becomes a sort of dance with the lamp. It's a beautiful scene (Kolvenbach does double duty as director), one that the rest of the play doesn't quite live up to. We learn that the man in the first scene is Beane (Pastides), a slightly unstable introvert whose only human interaction seems to be with his sister Joan (Laura Latreille) and her husband Harry (Ian Badford). One night he comes home to discover a woman, Molly (Zoƫ Winters), in his apartment, robbing him for what little possessions he has (not much more than a cup, hat, and spoon). He falls instantly in love with her and their relationship changes both him and his family. Though the writing can be annoyingly quirky for the sake of being quirky--Molly and Beane's romantic exchanges include lines like, "I will live among your teeth, I'll build a house on your molars"--the play redeems itself in the surprising tenderness displayed between Joan and Harry and Beane and Joan.

At first, Latreille tries too hard as an uptight workaholic, but as her character loosens up, the actress also seems to get more comfortable in the role. But Pastides's performance is so engaging that the other actors don't make as strong an impression.

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