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Review: Sweet and Funny MYSTERY OF LOVE & SEX at ACT

Lorenzo Roberts and Emily Chisholm in
The Mystery of Love & Sex at ACT
Photo credit: Chris Bennion

In this ever changing world we are getting more and more acceptable variations on love. There are still the traditional ones, man and woman, parent and child, friend to friend. But people are opening up to more with same sex unions and even polyamorous relationships becoming more common. No one can tell you who to love but people will surely try as is evident in the sweet and funny examination of "The Mystery of Love & Sex" currently playing at ACT.

In Bathsheba Doran's play Jonny and Charlotte (Lorenzo Roberts and Emily Chisholm) grew up together and were about as close as two people could get. Now away together at college everyone just assumes they're together especially Charlotte's parents Lucinda and Howard (Mary Kae Irvin and Ray Abruzzo). But as these two continue to discover who they are they also navigate the rough waters of whom they will love and how their families and society will view that love.

Doran's play has a bit of a dichotomy to it that threw me a bit. Act One is filled with laughs even as they bring up these heady subjects, which sets a particular tone for the play. But then Act Two feels like a completely different play as the tone shifts to a more serious and hard-hitting one. Sure, you could say that the characters are just going through their emotional arc but the tone shift was big enough that I noticed it, which I shouldn't. Luckily both acts are still quite enjoyable especially with the wonderfully rich dialog from Doran and fantastic pacing from director Allison Narver. And when coupled with this stunning ensemble I'm not sure there's any way you could not enjoy this tale.

Chisholm keeps managing to impress in her various roles around town without ever being pigeonholed into one type owing largely to the fact that she disappears into every role. Roberts brings an adorable, slightly quirky sweetness to the role making him instantly likable and connectable. This is someone we need to keep an eye on for great things to come. Abruzzo lends some incredible comedic timing to the role with fantastic facial expressions that convey tons and is matched perfectly by the hilarity of Irvin. And all four actors have a palpable chemistry with each other making them a joy to watch.

This is not one of those shows that will blow your doors off or change your life but it certainly makes for a fun and touching evening and leaves you with a lovely sigh of an ending. And so with my three letter rating system I give ACT's "The Mystery of Love & Sex" a happy little sigh of a YAY. I just don't think it's possible to not enjoy yourself with this one.

"The Mystery of Love & Sex" performs at ACT through June 26th. For tickets or information contact the ACT box office at 206-292-7676 or visit them online at

From This Author - Jay Irwin

         Born and raised in Seattle, WA, Jay has been a theater geek for years.  He attends as many shows as he can around the country and loves taking in new exciting... (read more about this author)

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