BWW Review: CHEATERS Explores the Intricacies of Intimacy at the Ooley Theatre
"Oh! What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!" Sir Walter Scott said it best, 170 years before Michael Jacobs' Cheaters was first produced on Broadway in 1978. Cheaters is an amusing look at three couples whose lives intertwine in the most awkward and unbelievable way. EMH Productions brings new life to this oft-criticized work in a fresh, entertaining take.
We first meet Howard and Monica, who are both married but not to each other. Director Elise Hodge inhabits Monica as a sour, middle-aged shrew who decides that if she can't have Howard, no one should. Ryan Boyd's Howard just seems bored by her antics, as if he'd rather be having a beer and watching a ball game. He, in fact, seems apathetic in general, which is perhaps why his wife, Grace, is seen in the next scene in a hotel room with a man named Sam. Denise Lorenzini-Mayberry's Grace and Rick Cook's Sam come across as a charmingly naive duo. Grace is the girlfriend-next-door who I want to have a Pampered Chef party with. Sam is like an eager schoolboy waiting for his first sexual experience which, based on his wife, may be close to accurate.
Rounding out the couples of dysfunction are Michelle (Jenny Cox) and Allen (Jeson Johnson), a young pair who disagree on the merits of matrimony. For good reason, as we will come to see. Michelle thinks that after cohabitating for a year and a half that they should get married. Allen balks, which sends Michelle to lick her wounds in the safety of her parents' home. Her parents just happen to be Howard and Grace. Not to be outdone, Allen also returns to the safety of the nest-Monica and Sam's nest, to be exact. In the hopes of achieving harmony, Michelle's parents invite Allen's parents over for dinner...with hilarious results.
Cheaters is being staged in the Ooley Theatre, a charming and intimate venue located at 2007 28th Street in Sacramento, through April 6th. Tickets may be purchased at www.emhpros.weebly.com or by calling (916) 214-6255.