Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Love List"

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entire contents Copyright 2009 Tony Annicone

"The Love List"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The current show at the Granite Theatre is Norm Foster's "The Love List". The show is a three character two act farce which takes place in the present day apartment of 40 year old Bill, a lonely and boring statistician whose life is full of graphs and figures (like the fact that dust in an apartment is an accumulation of 75% dead skin from him and prior tenants.) Bill's wife left him long ago because he is such a tiresome person. Leon, his best friend who is cynical and candid, has his way with many women, is worried about his friend definitely needing a mate and gets him a Got-A-Match order form for his pal's 40th birthday.The mild-mannered statistician whose wife divorced him seven years ago on the grounds of boredom, is reluctant to list the 10 qualities he envisions in his ideal mate. The two friends come up with a list of ten attributes for the ideal woman, according to the taste of Bill. Fantasy takes over when Leon leaves the apartment with the list and within minutes, an attractive mystery woman named Justine enters the apartment with all these great qualities. She implies she has been living and loving Bill for years. Who is this woman and where did she come from? Have these two men created a female Frankenstein? Once Bill learns of this new development, both men start to change the love list and make revisions to some of the qualities. Each time they do, the personality of Justine changes for the worse. This happens over a period of a couple of weeks as we watch Justine change personalities at will. The play becomes very thought provoking and you are warned to be very careful what you wish for. David Jepson directs the show with a firm hand, obtaining many laughs during this fast paced, well written farce. The opening night audience leapt to their feet at the end of the show rewarding it with a standing ovation.

John Cillino does an excellent job as Bill. Bill's personality develops within the play from modest and easy-going to enamored and elated as he spouts off many details about statistics at the start of the show. His facial expressions and antics are very humorous especially when Justine cleans up the apartment, destroying his cluttered mess where he knows where everything is placed. The show is funny and entertaining with much sustained laughter along the way. The beautiful apartment set is by David Jepson, the hard working stage manager is Grace Rezendes with sound and lighting is by Arthur Pignataro. John Cillino plays Bill while David Jepson does double duty as director as well as playing Leon, the womanizing author who hasn't had a piece of cake in two years since his last book came out. The female fans of his books offer him coffee and cake with Leon never refusing their cake offers. His publisher has been dissatisfied with his latest effort and we find out why in later scenes. The Neil Simon type banter between the two men is performed in rapid fire with the two act play flowing along quickly. The men's expectations of the perfect woman are hysterical to hear as these expectations keep changing, leading to riotous laughter from the audience. Rochelle Weinrauch is splendid as Justine, the mystery woman who changes personalities at a moment's notice. Her costumes are sexy and alluring and she gets to show off her lovely singing voice on the annoying song "Tomorrow". She works at an advertising company and is in constant competition with fellow employee Brian Mercer who figures heavily in the plot line in the second act. Her funniest line is about Leon's wife when Justine shows her surprise at their argument saying "She wouldn't say sex even if her mouth was full of it" and when the guys change her personality to more assertive, she grabs Bill's ass and starts swearing. Justine has quit her job, had a violent confrontation with Brian, calls a female phone caller a slut and hangs up on her. Rochelle also has a comic crying scene when she becomes sensitive and caring, apologizing for everything including hurting Leon's feelings. Things change when she finds the list and makes one of her own on it while Bill exclaims she is being shallow with it. The twists and turns in the show will have you guessing to what is really happening till the final moment.They work well together creating a wonderful evening of topnotch entertainment in a brand new show that will be performed by many groups in the future. So for a fantastic farce that will definitely tickle your funny bone, be sure to catch "The Love List" at Granite Theatre. You will be laughing all the way home.

"The Love List" (26 June - 26 July)
1 Granite Street, WESTERLY RI
1 (401)596-2341

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide