BWW Review: Promises that I LOVE MY WIFE at Winter Park Playhouse 7/30 2pm
I LOVE MY WIFE is a tongue-in-cheek look at the fall-out from the 1960's sexual revolution. While the 60s were all about "free love," there are people who just miss the boat then try their best to catch up to the trend. In I LOVE MY WIFE, a pair of suburbian friends experience a whole bunch of awkward sexual hijinx in an effort to experience the "human connection" of switching up sexual partners to make things more interesting in bed. Set to a Cy Coleman musical arrangement, this show is light and an easily watchable escape from the summer heat.
The cast works well together with Wally and Monica played by Michael Colavolpe and Heather Alexander; paired against Alvin and Cleo played by Shawn Kilgore and Natalie Cordone. I expected to watch awkward interactions, like that feeling you get when you see your parents kiss, but I was pleasantly surprised how natural it felt. Each cast member brought their own personalities to the characters making it feel believably comedic.
As with all Winter Park Playhouse shows, the live music is great. All the songs were light and well performed.Having never heard of this show before, I really enjoyed "By Threes" a catchy tune justifying having a threesome. Colavolpe, Kilgore and the Band guys kept up the energy and maintained the humor. "Someone Wonderful I Missed" is a country duet between Cleo and Monica. Alexander and Cordone's voices blend so well together that it is easy to imagine the pair as friends in real life.
Much drama occurs when the men decide to broach the topic of three/foursomes with their wives. It was interesting to watch these men use their wives own common sense inhibitions against them, turning hesitation to consent. When the four of them are in that bed, you wonder how exactly did we get here? Is this what people did in the 60s/70s? Do people do this now? It's so absurd, but jovial.
When this show debuted on Broadway in 1977, it was considered groundbreaking because it was one of the first shows to put the band on-stage and have them interact as cast. The breakout star for me was unexpectedly Ned Wilkinson, who played random band member Stanley. Every time I looked over to the band Wilkinson was playing a different instrument, everything from various guitars to woodwinds to . Oh, and he even sings. As I was leaving the theater, a patron asked Wilkinson, "How many instruments do you play?" To which he responded, "If there is an instrument I haven't played, I can learn it." I'd love to see a Ned Wilkinson cabaret of instruments someday.
I love what Winter Park Playhouse shows are starting to do with their sets. Gone are those single set pieces with the dark backdrop curtain. The I LOVE MY WIFE set pieces were transformative and modular. It really worked well to set the scene for the 1970s and keep the show moving without too much distraction.
Directed by Michael Edwards, I LOVE MY WIFE runs at the Winter Park Playhouse now through August 21 at various times. This show marks the official 14th season opener for Winter Park Playhouse. There is an adult advisory warning for the show due to the blatant sexual innuendos, but compared to what is seen on TV now or days, this show is clean. For tickets and more information visit www.winterparkplayhouse.org.
Photo Credit: Taylor Galore - Winter Park Playhouse