BWW Review: ANYTHING SERIOUS: Seriously Good Entertainment
ANYTHING SERIOUS/by Francisco Castro/directed by Joe Lorenzo/The Actors Workout Studio/thru May 1, 2016
Above the Curve Theatre successfully mounts Francisco Castro's ANYTHING SERIOUS. Its two perfectly cast leads, and the five strong players supporting them, winningly perform Castro's smart, witty script.
Martin, a low/no-esteemed, self-proclaimed geek longs for more than friendship with Jessica, the hottest girl he went to college with. Present day, the curvaceous Jessica teasingly works the leering crowd at her lunch truck named "We Got Balls." She's parked close enough to "Leo's Creole" where Martin works that he can look out his window and see her every effective sales techniques. Even though Jessica has just gotten out of a two-year relationship with David, Martin's reluctant to make a move. Martin feels he's so out of, or rather, below the league of men Jessica attracted to, let alone goes out with. When Jessica and Martin do go on a 'date,' mutually-agreed ground rules of never getting serious get established. Of course, after a few 'dates,' their friends get asking if "Anything serious?"
Anthony Marquez and Nicole Rochell have an abundance of chemistry together keeping their Martin and Jessica just friends, then friends with benefits, then, "they couldn't be getting serious, could they?" As a couple, Marquez and Rochell make their non-courtship, just-sex relationship most believably interesting, making you root for Jessica and Martin's happiness together. Individually, Marquez and Rochell totally convince and entrall as they break the fourth wall with their overlapping spiel of their most inner thoughts to the audience.
Joe Lorenzo sure-handedly directs his talented troupe at a fast clip, making sure all receive their deserved moments on stage to shine. Director Lorenzo (also essaying Martin's best friend, the soon-to-be-wed Lucas) nails Lucas' pre-wedding jitters and frequent inappropriate comments on Jessica. Seth Russell smoothly guides through the proceedings as the Martin and Lucas' friend, the aptly named horndog "Bong." Russell does stoned quite well. Lorenzo and Russell's voices for their penises, both effective instigators for much chuckles.
As Peta (the bride-to-be and best friend of Jessica), Erica Brauer seizes her opportunity to display her crack comic timing (with a chomp of a celery stick). Maikiko James as bridesmaid Holden seductively describes the difference between good cunnilingus and a mind-blowing one by vividly comparing the taste of a generic brand ice cream to that of Ben & Jerry's. (You'll need a cigarette after!) Keegan Winfield as bridesmaid Neva sharply reads/schools Jessica between getting stoned or drunk. Winfield does drunk quite well.
Amidst all the laughter (lots of it), a nice addition of tears-inducing moments soundly register; the most effectual being the wedding toasts of Martin's, then Jessica's. Nice!
Only wish the clunky set changes interrupting the play's flow could be eliminated or at least shortened.
Photo Credit: Above the Curve Theatre