StageQ's press release for Dutch Love insists that the production is "hilarious." That immediately puts a critic on her guard, but Dutch Love (running through April 29 at the Bartell Theatre) is actually quite funny, even hilarious at times. The script by Claudia Allen is zingy and fresh, and the cast is appealing.
Leonora is a supervisor at a college cafeteria who has put her own happiness on hold. Her husband, Hal, is a college professor specializing in Dickens and persnickety behavior. For most of their 20-year marriage, Hal has been having affairs with men, including the mischievous Andrei. Leonora meets up with Dutch, a lesbian mechanic, and begins her own affair that suddenly shakes up the marriage. When Andrei brings Dutch to Easter dinner, she becomes smitten with Cass, Hal and Leonora's daughter. The family must sort through relationships, passion and the meaning of happiness.
The production, which is deftly directed by Tara Ayres, has a breezy first act but is a bit sluggish in the second. Tim Spires' devilish performance as Andrei is responsible for much of the show's hilarity. Kelly Kiorpes is effervescent as Cass, the young entomology student who is in the tricky position of being involved with the same lover as her mother. There is something to like about everybody in the cast, although poor Pam Adams as Leonora is stuck in a bland Blythe Danner mom/wife role.
Attendance was sparse on opening night, and I'm hoping more people will find their way to this comedy. They will be rewarded with a good entertainment value for their relatively low ticket price, and it would be a shame if those wicked lines are delivered to empty seats.