Monday, December 7, 2009

Theater Review: Love Child

Location: New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street, NY, NY

Website: Official New World Stages Site

Starring: Daniel Jenkins, Robert Stanton

My Review: Love Child is a nearly impossible play to summarize and review, so I’m going to cop out and say you just have to see it for yourself.

Love Child stars only two men—Daniel Jenkins and Robert Stanton, who also wrote it—but there are at least 30 different characters. Using minimal props and their own talent they tell a hilarious tale about the production of a terrible play that leads to the uncovering of a 40-year old family secret. The action shifts from the backstage drama, to the performance itself, to the goings-on in the audience, and back again at a lightening speed, so you have to be on your toes to catch everything. The character changes happen even faster, as each actor transforms himself into someone new with the slightest gesture or a change of expression.

The story they’re telling is highly entertaining, but half the fun of Love Child is trying to keep up with production. The first few minutes go by in a blur as you try to connect the pieces, then when it all clicks into place, you’re on the edge of your seat for the next hour, watching what is essentially a theatrical tennis match as Jenkins and Stanton work like a pair of pros to keep the ball in the air. And they never once let it drop, which is obviously no easy feat as both men are sweating and gasping for air by the show’s end, but it makes for an incredible night of theater for the audience.

Bottom Line: I’ve never really thought of live theater as an athletic event, but Love Child seems to be straddling the line between art and sports. And it’s great fun for everyone involved, both on and off the stage.

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