It's got to come out in the open. Fresh
air is always the best cure.
Little Fish Theatre has an addiction
problem. There, it's been said. The San Pedro theater company is addicted
to plays by Canada's most prolific, and comic, playwright, Norm Foster.
And, with any luck, that addiction
will continue to thrive.
"Looking" is the current expression of
that addiction. Others have included "The Love List" and "Old Love" from
The play opened at Little Fish last Friday
and with a little luck (we're sorry to wish addiction on anyone, but)
you'll go see it and become a little addicted yourself.
Foster is Canada's most-produced playwright,
and, we presume, he has more shots in his locker than just funny, very
funny, romantic comedies. That's for scholars to debate, and researchers
to wrangle with. But the plays of his that Little Fish has offered in
the past are, for the most part, delightful romantic comedies with plenty
of laughs; real, well-fleshed characters; and a wicked eye for the foibles
of modern life.
"Looking" is just that: four people trying
to find love, romance, and sex, and having a hard time finding it with
the little problems of cell phones and the like. These characters are
just like you, or someone you know: not kings or princes or showgirls,
but just average men and women living average lives and wanting to find
a little more. Though, they are probably a lot more fun than anyone you
know while they are trying.
The two women in question, Melissa Brandzel
(Val) and Kimberley Patterson (Nina) are already in successful careers.
Val is a surgical nurse and Nina is a cop, and they get together at the
health club where they both work out.
The two men are Bert Pigg (Matt), a DJ
(he prefers to be called "a broadcaster") on a jazz radio station, and
David Graham (Andy) who sells storage space. They also meet at the health
club. Neither couple wants to try phone dating, but Andy is talked into
it by Matt, with the proviso that Matt tags along for support. Val also
is talked into it, with Nina as her support.
As you must know, Matt and Nina fall into
love, and bed, that night, but Andy and Val don't quite make it: there
is no magic between them as Val reveals at a post-date session at the
health club. There is more to come, including a dicey cell phone and a
lot of talk about, well, you know.
Graham has the face of a love-lorn man,
though he has proved himself a versatile actor in many roles at Little
Fish. Pigg makes a perfect foil: a little taller, a little handsomer,
perhaps. They make a great team.
Brandzel and Patterson are also a great
team, almost finishing each other's sentences, wanting romance but loyal
and very funny at once.
Stephanie Coltrin directs all this on
a stage that is, thanks to recent renovations, 8 feet wider than before,
with the promise of air conditioning to come. Chris Beyries designed the
set: a simple workout bench on one side, a bar in the middle, and a door
as well And Christa Armendariz' costumes and Darrell Clark's lighting
are effective and unobtrusive.
Nothing fancy here, nothing spectacular,
just Norm Foster and a chance for you to get your annual fix. Don't worry,
you'll be fine and you'll want to come back for more.
Want to go? When: 8 p.m. May 17 and 18
and 23 through 25; 2 p.m. May 19. Where: Little Fish Theatre, 777 Centre
St., San Pedro. Tickets: $27, $24 for seniors, $20 for students.
Information: 310-512-6030, littlefishtheatre.org
John Farrell is a Long Beach-based freelance