Jarel Davidow, Kate Goehring and Jake Hart in The Love List. Photo by Kent Meister.
BOTTOM LINE: Easy, breezy fun with a lot of good laughs and a clever and unique script.
The Love List, playing at Manhattan Theatre Source and presented by BOO-Arts, is a funny and enjoyable evening of theater. You've heard of a date movie? Well, this is a date play. The show is about relationships and after the curtain call there are plenty of things to talk about as you sit over a cup of coffee or a cocktail. The premise of the show is that two men Bill (Jarel Davidow) and Leon (Jake Hart) create a list of ten things that they would want in the perfect woman. Very quickly, the list becomes a "careful what you wish for" kind of thing when this "ideal" woman, Justine (Kate Goehring), seems to appear out of nowhere. I was completely wrapped up in the story and couldn't wait to figure out where this woman came from and how she would change if they decided to alter some of the ten attributes. The cast and the theater are small, but the performances are big and the show is hugely entertaining.
All three actors are very fun to watch and each one has a great arc thanks to the writing of Norm Foster. Davidow makes Bill the statistician a likable, self-effacing man who doesn't believe that he deserves such a perfect woman. He's sweet and nerdy but plays Bill in such a way that makes you understand why Justine wants to be with him so badly. Hart is smarmy, snide and perfectly acerbic as the cocky writer who may not be as cocksure as he pretends to be. Goehring chews up the scenery as she embodies whatever quality the two men decide to add to the list as they turn into Dr. Frankenstein creating their own masterpiece. Quirky and funny, she changes from sweet and naive to cold and icy at the drop of a hat. The three actors feed off of each other and never fail to get the laugh whether it's a broad piece of physical comedy or a slight movement of an eyebrow.
Jessica McVea directs her three person cast with efficiency but I did wish some of the scene changes happened a bit quicker. Set designer Ryan Murphy creates a very believable New York City bachelor apartment out of the small space. Watching the show, it feels like you are actually inside someones home. And kudos to sound designer Dana Monagan who fills the show with great appropriate music from Bjork to The Beach Boys to Barry White. The Love List is a thoroughly enjoyable play. I laughed out loud many times. And if you like this play, I'm sure you will like the performances even more.
(The Love List plays at Manhattan Theatre Source, 177 MacDougal Street between 8th Street and Waverly Place through May 16, 2010. Performances are Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 3pm and 8pm and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets are $18 and are available at http://www.theatresource.org/home.php or by calling 212- 352-3101. For more info visit boo-arts.com.)