|Sing along with me… “Looking for love in all the wrong places…” err, well, add a strong dose of sex and debauchery and we may be getting warmer. Love Sucks (brought to you by The World Famous Improvisation and Mario Cantone) currently running at the Coast Playhouse in West Hollywood is a raucous, bawdy, NON-romantic comedy. I’m not entirely sure how the word LOVE found it’s way in the title, but to the playwright’s defense, the sub-title helps set us straight with, “A not-so Romantic Comedy of Bad Manners”. ‘Backseats and Bathroom Stalls’ was the previous title, and it should have been the keeper.
We find six crazy characters on New York’s Lower East Side in search of love (read: SEX) over a 48-hour period. In this 90-minute show, the sex happens everywhere you can imagine: a backseat, bathroom stall, apartment and a bar… between multiple people, multiple times. It’s neither a gay, not straight, nor a bisexual extravaganza – it’s all the above. The show opens with Josie (Sadie Alexandru) and her gay roommate Calvin (Joshua Bitton) getting ready for an evening out. Josie is wild for the far-from-fantastic, but well-endowed/well-named, Harlan (Michael Alperin). Calvin meets stockbroker Charlie (Daniel Ponickly) at a bar and they go for a round in the bathroom stall. What Calvin doesn’t know is that Charlie has a fiancée (Jeni Verdon) who falls/jumps into the arms of pseudo gypsy/womanizer/self-proclaimed LIAR(!), Giuseppi (understudy, Kevin Oestenstad) to ease her troubled mind. And that’s just the beginning. Don’t think for a second they all don’t mix and mingle in a jigsaw of a plot that ends in a great, big coming clean pow-wow.
This show is meant to be funny. And it is. As you would suspect, it’s not high comedy, not mentally taxing… but a fun sexually charged romp. Love Sucks is for liberal audiences who want to be entertained without being mentally challenged. If you can’t handle the lyrics to one of the pre-show songs…
“I know he looks hot, when he dresses like a cop (but girl you ain’t a top noooo)
…don’t entertain the thought of buying tickets for even a second.
Did I like the show? Well, yes. Yes I did. It’s an over-acting spectacular… as it really should be. The writing is full of laughs. Rob Mersola (writer and director) throws in some zinger AT&T jokes, to keep it fresh and current. The cast is talented and the writing is good. It’s fun. Could it have been more fun? Yes. For a laugh-a-minute show, I laughed about every four or five… which is still a lot of laughs, but it didn’t live up to it’s potential. On the particular performance I attended, it had all the signs of a runaway comedy. The cast is performing late into an extended run and the show is no longer tight. My gut says it was at one point. They are in need of a good stage manager to crack the whip, or a visit from Mr. Mersola to pull it back, and make sure focus is where it should be. And maybe that has already happened.
It’s a great little theatre, the production value is cool (kudos set guy, Burris Jakes and lighting lady, Kathi O’Donohue) and it’s a ridiculous show. If that’s what you need… go see it.
“I really, really, really liked it.” -Anonymous patron to her theatre going co-hort.
The Coast Playhouse