Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 18:56

38th Humana Festival of New American Plays: 'Partners' by Dorothy Fortenberry

Written by Chuck Lavazzi
Rate this item
(0 votes)

The Details

L-R: Annie PUrcell, David Ross, Kasey Mahaffy, and LeRoy McClain
L-R: Annie PUrcell, David Ross, Kasey Mahaffy, and LeRoy McClain actorstheatre.org / Bill Breymer

Clare (Annie Purcell) is an aspiring chef married to Paul (David Ross), an IT manager for a New York City law firm. She loves trying out new recipes on her best friend Ezra (Kasey Mahaffy) and his boyfriend Brady (LeRoy McClain), who teaches "at risk" kids. Ezra wants to start a Tex-Mex food truck business with Clare. She, in turn, wants him to marry Brady. When Clare gets an unexpected financial windfall as a result of a long-forgotten class-action lawsuit, She, Paul, and Ezra find themselves faced with some tricky choices.

That should be the set-up for a lively comedy examining the difficulties in trying to mix business, love, and friendship. And, in fact, Dorothy Fortenberry's script bristles with funny lines. In "Partners," just about everybody is a joker. Indeed, that's the problem: the humor in "Partners" comes mostly in the form of Neil Simon-esque jokes. It doesn't, unfortunately, come from well-developed characters in credible situations.

The biggest problem with "Partners" is the central character of Clare. She's self-centered, devoid of insight, and has an unerring knack for turning silk purses into sow's ears. Worse yet, she's passive aggressive with a vengeance. She allows Ezra, for example, to spend hours of his own time developing a business plan for a project that she apparently doesn't want to undertake. Rather than simply say she's not interested, she produces a litany of excuses for why she never makes a meeting on time or meets a deadline.

Husband Paul doesn't get much better treatment. Her cooking is too spicy for his stomach, but she makes no real effort to change her recipes. She hides her financial good fortune from him and then, while he's making plans to use it in ways that will benefit both of them, she gives most of it away to a marriage equality organization. Why either he or Ezra have any affection for the tiresome Clare is frankly hard to fathom.

Scenes between Ezra and Brady—both well-drawn and sympathetic characters—were more interesting. I found their relationship was more credible than Clare and Paul's. The scene in which Brady proposes marriage (but not, alas, monogamy) to Ezra was touching and true.

At only 65 minutes, "Partners" is hardly a long play. But, despite strong performances from the cast, it felt like one, largely because Clare wore out her welcome about halfway through. Lila Neugebauer's smart direction made the best of this shallow script, greatly assisted by Daniel Zimmerman's realistic sets, Paul Toben's lights, and Lindsay Jones's original music and sound. But you know you're in trouble when a fast scene change gets as much applause as your curtain call.

Additional Info

Related Video

Video blog review by Chuck Lavazzi and Tina Farmer

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

Local Artist Spotlight


Karate Bikini - A Simpler Sugar

Wed November 26
Karate Bikini is an eight piece ensemble who's members hail from St. Louis and the metro area. They are a large band with a large sound. Their latest album A Simpler Sugar is full of upbeat pop songs,…

KDHX Recommends

January
Saturday
17

Recording Clinic with Patrick Crecelius

KDHX is proud to host a DIY mixing workshop for musicians at The Stage at KDHX. The clinic will be taught by Patrick Crecelius of Cedar Box Studio. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, his credits include such local artists as Ryan...


January
Sunday
18

88.1 KDHX Musical Merry-Go-Round Welcomes The Boogers

The Boogers are the brainchild of Dr. Paul Crowe. Fatherhood, a PhD in Developmental Psychology, and 20 years of sloggin' it in wretched clubs as a punk rocker - even opening for Dee Dee Ramone and Marky Ramone - formed Paul's...


February
Sunday
01

Discovery Series

The Discovery Series, a 10-event series spanning February to June, 2015, will not only bring you new music, but also music-focused interactive sessions that take a look at how music plays a role in our society. Each month the...


Get Answers!

If you have questions or need to contact KDHX, visit our answers portal at answers.kdhx.org.

Online Users

7 users and 11329 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook