BWW Review: LIVING ON LOVE at Curtain Call Theatre
It's obvious that theatre nowadays has begun to stray from the cute, playful shows of the 1950s, in which plots were thin and laughs were large. And rightfully so, as after a certain point, one craves to feel moved and inspired by a piece. But something about Joe DiPietro's Living on Love, which opened April 1st at the Curtain Call Theatre, makes me wish that these old time farces will soon make a comeback.
The play, directed by PatRick White, takes place in the spring of 1957 as Vito De Angelis (Jack Fallon), conductor extraordinaire, fires yet another ghost writer of his autobiography. His wife, Raquel De Angelis (Pat Brady), a once internationally famous opera singer, returns from a failed tour to inform him that his book must be written as their financial status is in ruin. When he finally finds a writer he approves us, a young editor by the name of Iris Peabody (Allison Tebbano), Raquel is inspired to write her own memoir with the help of Robert Sampson (Sean Baldwin), the ghost writer that Vito fires at the beginning of the show. From there on, the couple continuously attempts to one up each other and see who can finish their autobiography first, causing much chaos and distress in their Manhattan penthouse.
The shows plot is simple and predictable, yet provides many laugh-out-loud moments. Fallon shines above all as the European maestro, playing the part as if he was an authentic Italian immigrant. I, for one, having been raised by full blooded Italians, found his performance to be not only extremely comedic, but also accurate, censoring a feeling of nostalgia and bringing me back to long, extravagant family get-togethers.
Brady does quite well in the role of the diva, always discovering a new way to draw the attention back upon her. Though she occasionally seemed a little held back onstage, she provided many laughs to the audience, particularly when she and her dog Puccini enter dressed as Egyptian queens (costume design by Beth Ruman).
Tebbano is also a good fit; her welcoming, fresh look fitting the role of the ingénue nicely. Pat Leathem (Bruce) and Lonnie Honsinger (Eric) play two household servants and add quick bits of comedy to the show, specifically during the set changes and ending.
Baldwin certainly has no trouble portraying his characters sense of awkward quirkiness, yet often doesn't measure up to the other actors. His inexperience is evident as he often simply reciting Sampson's lines and not embodying the character himself.
Though most of the actors individually bring great talent to their roles, they don't seem to mesh well together onstage, affecting the overall flow of the piece. It's because of this that some parts feel over acted and desperate for the audience's laughter and energy to revive the production. Perhaps if the actors worked together more as a cast as opposed to individual performers, each moment of the greatly written play would shine as intended by DiPietro.
Nevertheless, for those who simply need a night out, Living on Love is a fun escape from those difficult real world problems. The show's scenic design by Connor Munion is elegant and sophisticated, and does well in the intimate theatre space, allowing for a cozy few hours of enjoyable live theatre.