Peggy Sue Dunigan
Review

‘Romantic Fools’ at the Tenth Street Theater

By - May 4th, 2009 04:13 pm
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Fools and their fantasies: Perhaps at one time or another every person plays a fool for love. Portraying both the foolish and the fantastical through the course of a loosely related romance, In Tandem Theatre Company closes its season with Rich Orloff’s comic revue Romantic Fools.

Twelve short sketches travel down a wayward path between the first date and first walk down the aisle for one attractive couple, with bizarre twists and turns along the way. While much of the script runs through highly humorous material, it crosses some sexually explicit subjects with a kinky bent, somewhere between Saturday Night Live and a Dr. Laura therapy session.

Playwright Orloff’s prolific one-act plays are often featured in the annual Best American Short Plays collections. Here the comedic elements are provided within the subtle format of a game show with the main contestants being Lori (Georgina McKee) and Andrew (Ryan Schabach) who, along with other assorted characters on this path to love, reveal an intensity and complete compatibility which gave credibility to the absurd situations on stage.

Sometimes characters speak directly to the audience, eliciting smiles and giggles. Director Jane Flieller also keeps the skits fresh and flowing with minimal props on a red and gold stage reminiscent of television’s matchmaking games of the past – but here using only one door instead of three. Sometimes the situations and dialogue entice the audience into uncomfortable territory for conservative mindsets, leaving little romance but considerable foreplay.

While several great scenes incorporate some very funny lines that anyone can relate to, one special sketch provides classic appeal. After her engagement, Lori tries to find a wedding planner. A guest appearance by the artistic director surprises everyone as a figure from the comics past. Smoking a large cigar with heavy eyebrows and a mustache, the planner promises Lori a perfect event from “married to buried,” and puns ensue in rapid succession.

This Romantic Fools resists the overly sweet and sentimental moments of courtship by employing sexuality, a contemporary and open vision of dating and mating. These fantasies may appeal to mature audiences for an evening of pure delusional entertainment. While the theater company presents this play as “a comic collection of dating do’s and don’ts”, some fools for love may prefer observing more heartfelt emotion and less dysfunction. Still, InTandem successfully delivers a provocative night of fun..

InTandem Theatre Company presents Romantic Fools at Tenth Street Theatre until May 17. Also enjoy supporting an innovative mission for the promotion of theater arts in Milwaukee by attending their annual fundraiser, Bottoms Up – a casual evening of beer tasting on June 5. For more information and tickets for either the play or fundraiser: 414.271.171 or visit In Tandem’s website.

For venue, tickets, showtimes and more, visit Footlights Milwaukee online.

Categories: Arts & Culture, Theater

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