According to Lincoln Center's new LCT3 project at its slogan, it takes "New Audiences for New Artists." It also takes new critics, hence the establishment of Theater Talk's New Theater Corps in 2005, a way for up-and-coming theater writers and eager new theatergoers to get exposure to the ever-growing theater scene in New York City. Writers for the New Theater Corps are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the off-off and off-Broadway theater scene, learning and giving back high-quality reviews at the same time. Driven by a passion and love of the arts, the New Theater Corps aims to identify, support, and grow the arts community, one show and one person at a time.

Monday, August 04, 2008

MITF: Love, Incorporated

Reviewed by Jason Fitzgerald

Love, Incorporated
seems to have a point, which is that the scruples-be-damned strategies of the corporate sector have no place in real-life romance. But does Marc Castle (book, music, and lyrics) believe this message? After all, his cookie-cutter love story is calculated, like the best sales pitch, to privilege charm over substance. Given that the Midtown International Theatre Festival has placed the show in its new Commercial Division, giving it extra support for a commercial future, the plan seems to be working. There are no surprises here—Faith, a plain-looking research analyst, scores her dream man after an obligatory makeover, a couple of hours spent scheming (she hires her neighbor and a local actor to create a matchmaking business, Love, Inc., with herself as its only client), and some ballad belting. Clich├ęs are treated like revelations, with lyrics like, “Christmas is the most depressing time of year” and a scene that turns on the line, “There are lots of bumps on the rocky road to perfection.” The evening is buoyed by a jaunty if unoriginal score and a fine performance by the ensemble, particularly Hollis Scarborough, whose finger-snapping slickness as Faith’s assistant (“I’m not your friend. I’m your neighbor.”) provides a touch of edginess that the musical badly needs. However, a faster-paced direction would smooth over the rough spots and fuse some real comic timing into the show. By the time Faith’s two associates are singing about Love, Inc.’s first “success story,” the newly coupled subjects having rejected their business-minded ways, I wondered just what mode of courtship Love, Incorporated was advocating. My discomfort faded as I left the theatre, quietly humming the tunes while plot, lyrics, and character disappeared like a newly printed receipt.

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