Why Do Fools Fall In Love?
By Roger Bean and Jon Newton
Directed by Roy Alan
Musical Direction by Chris Leavy
Winter Park Playhouse
Winter Park, FL
Why DO fools fall in love? Some sort of biological imperative, I suppose, but that’s not as much fun as watching them do it, over and over. Tonight we visit the not-that-swinging 60’s. Formica panels and avant-garde wall hangings define the space, over permed hair and loud dresses define the fashions. While wedding bells rings for Millie (Heather Kopp) there are rumors about the groom’s fidelity. Unfortunately the actual wedding is now in the handles of mom and an aunt and dammit, it’s going to be perfect! At t-minus 3 days, all Millie’s friends come over to celebrate with cupcakes and Tang margaritas. There’s slutty Sally (Allyssa Yost), shy Florence (Noel-Marie Matson) and ditzy Dee-Dee (Molly Jackson). They are full of advice and tequila, and Millie is in a bind. Stick it out so the parents can brag about the quality of the hor d’orves, or face reality and destroy the post war ideals of sexual relations in a modernizing universe? I’ll say this: this living room is no bastion of radical feminism.
With a deeper than normal plot line this girl’s show of dealing with unsteady fidelity is packed with great vintage songs, and not all of them are from the all-hit radio canonized playlist. Heart breakers include “Hurt So Bad” and “Goin’ Out of My Head” but then we hit obscurities like “I Stand Accused (Of Loving You)” and “Untrue, Unfaithful (That Was You)”. An anachronism slips in; Elvis Costello co-wrote “God Give Me Strength” in 1998 but it fits with in the mid-sixties material that paints the musical back drop.
Ms. Kopp is the perfectly rationalizing perma-victim; when her friends point out her man has been seen in public with another woman, she rationalizes instantly and says “they’re just friends…” Ms. Yost finds herself on a cusp; while she sees the most men they all treat her as if she sees the most men, and her reputation keeps just ahead of her honor. Ms. Matson’s the ugly duckling but has the best chance of a happy future if she can only get over her shyness for one short hour. And while Ms. Jackson often comes across as whiney, she finds the best comic moments. Example: she put olives on her fingers, admires them, then eats them and has to dry mouth through her next lines. The singers are as superb as always, the microphones are bit hot, and drama intense by WPPH standards, but this show hits the hits, dodges the easy tropes, and put up some interesting and unusual music while never straying from approved feel good roots.
For more information on Winter Park Playhouse, please visit http://www.winterparkplayhouse.org