The Seven Year Itch
By George Axelrod
Directed by Eric Pinder
Starring Sean Kemp and Chloe Brewer
Valencia College Theatre
How many people have a door set into their ceiling as the last step of an abandoned staircase? Richard (Kemp) does but its New York and who cares if the rent is cheap? His wife and kid have fled the city heat for New England beaches; he stays home and edits cheap paper backs. Writing is never as exciting as it appears to outsiders. His upstairs neighbors fled as well; they hired a cute but clumsy house sitter to water the tomatoes even though they aren’t there to eat them. That would be the drop dead sexy Marylyn Monroe style “The Girl” (Brewer). She’s a model who does nudie cuties in 1950s America; displaying pubic hair was still a federal offense. Both are bored, and Richard is jumpy as he’s trying to lay of the booze and smokes. Sex hangs heavy in the air, and we meet all the women Richard has ever fantasized over. His wife Helen (Evie Schildwacther) calls him daily to check on him but in the days of dial phones that’s wasn’t very effective. This leads to that, and Richard’s only grounding here is loquacious psychoanalyst Dr. Brubaker (Ryan Burke).He charges $50 an hour so Richard is stuck with a cold shower as his comfort.
It’s a pleasantly dated comedy, studded with great dresses and an agony that men have fought against and lost over for centuries. Kemp has a lot of words to remember, and he shines with a clean cut guilt that makes the show’s resolution a bit of a surprise. Brewer is not exactly innocent in her blazing sexuality; she knows the calculus exactly and has a good time without leaving a scene. Her rival Helen is equally adept; we mostly learn about her through Richard’s flashbacks. Her goodness is hard on poor Richard and she leaves him no excuse for bad behavior. Add an impressive set and some stunning dresses thanks to Greg Loftus and Ashely Montero and you have a classic midcentury sex comedy. The prissiness of the Hayes code has faded but the full on orgy of the hippie generation had yet to ignite. What this gives us is a surprisingly codified eroticism and a well-balanced fantasy. You share Richard’s agony but not his ecstasy, and that’s just proper for a college theater production.
For more information on Valencia College Theater, please visit http://valenciacollege.edu/artsandentertainment/Theater/