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Saturday, 02 April 2011 15:38

Acts of Love should get the axe

Written by Connie Bollinger
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westendplayers.org/John Lamb
westendplayers.org/John Lamb

Full enjoyment of any type of theater requires the willing suspension of disbelief; but Acts of Love, written by Kathryn Chetkovich, requires a full lobotomy.

It isn't often that contemporary live theater plunges into what reminds me of an episode of The Jerry Springer Show but by the second act this play did just that.

Ed, played by Sean Ruprecht-Belt and Sheila played by Renee Sevier-Monsey, have come to their summer home on the lake to celebrate their twentieth anniversary. Sheila has invited Ed's son, Tom, to bring his new girlfriend along for a nice family weekend.

The first act is a mildly engaging comedy with cranky old Dr. Ed making acerbic comments about the vacationing neighbors and placating wife Sheila taking his irascibility in stride. Son Tom, played by Joseph Hosea and girlfriend Annie, played by Macia Noorman, soon arrive and all hope of a tranquil weekend is lost; a bit predictable but so far so good.

It was in the second act that things really went sour for me. Impossible plot twists, heavy handed dialogue, and very little motivation left the characters twisting in the wind, and that left the actors scrambling for some kind of framework upon which to build their characters but alas, the author gives them little to work with here.

In place of plot and characterization, author Chetkovich decided to throw in some rough language, an entirely gratuitous love scene and several impossible coincidences the likes of which are rarely seen outside of afternoon soap operas. The actors and Director Robert Ashton did their best and their efforts are commendable, but I'm not sure a battalion of EMTs could breathe life into this silly, unbelievable, poorly written play. Acts of Love should be taken off the list of productions worthy of consideration by any theater.

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