Love, Love, Love, and More Love | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Love, Love, Love, and More Love 

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LOVE, LOVE, LOVE AND MORE LOVE, Infectious Productions, at Stage Left Theatre. The repetition of the title is more than matched by this evening's three one-acts. Warmly wrought offerings written by local playwrights, they depict a straight, a gay, and a lesbian couple, all customers at the Love Cafe, run by a hard-boiled drag queen named Betina (director and playwright Madrid St. Angelo). Alas, gender differences are the only elements that distinguish these redundant playlets by St. Angelo, Eric Smith, and Kelly Mantle. Each couple includes a fearful, codependent partner who's reluctant to commit to love and a confident, trusting soul who helps him or her let go of emotional baggage and false expectations. Illustrated lectures on how to repair rocky relationships, these one-acts go heavy on the overanalytical self-help therapy. Betina, who offers Ann Landers-style advice at $5 per speech, lightens things up with her finger-snapping put-downs, but not often enough.

St. Angelo directs an attractive young cast unafraid to bare their comely bodies whether the plot requires it or not (and also to fill the room with cigarette smoke). They bring a bracing directness to roles that need all the reality they can get. Gillian Vigman is especially endearing as a lesbian poet who won't let go of her pursuit of perfection without a fight. Except there is no fight. The conflicts may be perfunctory, but the passions--however abstract--register, register, register, and register.

--Lawrence Bommer

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