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V 35 Issue 32

 
 
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Review of Adventures in Mating

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

Adventures in Mating
by Joseph Scrimshaw
Directed by Joy Brooke Fairfield
Starring Amy Schumacher, Andy Clawson and Ian Schempp
Theater Schmeater
Through August 25


Miranda and Jeffrey meet for a blind date in a restaurant. Theater Schmeater is betting that just about everyone has had at least one blind date, if you're over the age of 18. But most of us probably didn't have someone ring a bell and stop us in the middle of sentences to ask bystanders if we should order the red or the white.

Audience participation is the hook to this adventure. Led by the flamboyant and bossy waiter, Mr. Waiter (Ian Schempp), the audience gets to pick and determine the course of the date. Schempp is very funny as the somewhat elegant master of ceremonies, presenting the premise to the audience and cajoling people to take responsibility for the kitty ("but don't push its belly, that would be very dangerous"), hold the script ("so you can help us remember which scene we're doing") and vote.

Miranda (Amy Schumacher) has a stick up her butt from the beginning, when she declares to Jeffrey (Andy Clawson) that "it isn't a date until I say it's a date" and commences to interview him, complete with checkoff lists and pop quizzes. Jeffrey is waffling between being the apparently "nice guy" and the rebel who doesn't do what he's told. Very soon, the bell rings and the audience votes on what happens next.

The premise is cute, providing a new play every night, presumably, but not very deep. It can't quite be said to be improvisation, since there is a script, but there isn't much of a story, either. Even with a commonplace premise like this one, there could be more concrete examples of dating interactions that ring true. Instead, it appears that the production, and perhaps the script, go for the laughs. So, there are a lot of laughs, which can be fun. But where's the play?

Actors are always saying that comedy is harder to play than drama because you have to play comedy like drama, to be true to the character. Using this guide, Amy Schumacher doesn't do her character much justice. She skims the surface of Miranda and sort of points us toward what Miranda is like, rather than embodying it. So, there isn't much empathy or recognition for her character. That makes her part not very funny.

Andy Clawson does a better job of being inside the bumbling, alternatively rebellious Jeffrey, so he gets more laughs. He is also good at pratfall type physical comedy, which also helps. But ultimately, the show rests on Mr. Waiter, without whom the entire show would fail to get much more than a smile or two.

If you're looking for a fun, interactive event, this might be your cup of tea. The audience becomes part of the evening, and you can interact with Mr. Waiter in many ways, even anarchistically. Push the button on the kitty! Heckle the waiter. You'll laugh, you'll go home.

For more information, call 206-324-5801 or go to www.schmeater.org To comment on a review: sgncritic@gmail.com

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