Sean Keller & April Singer in Drinking Perfume.
Photo-The Bard’s Town
By Lindsay Price
Directed by Beth Tantanella
A review by Keith Waits
Entire contents are copyright © 2014 Keith Waits. All rights reserved.
Drinking Perfume, described as a “clean” two-character comedy, will most likely be a crowd-pleaser, and it works overtime to be exactly that.
Stan (Sean Keller) enters an apartment with an armful of roses but is shocked to discover that the place is a morning-after-the-party mess and that there is an unknown woman, Claudie (April Singer) asleep under a blanket. Who belongs and who doesn’t occupies the early scenes, but it is frustrating that these people are wholly incapable of asking the few simple questions that would clear things up in a jiffy. The strenuousness of the contrivance is emblematic of a script that works too hard for its effects, and feels overstuffed with repetitive dialogue.
The introduction of a mystery buoys the script for a time as notes and packages arrive at the apartment addressed to both Stan and Claudie. The playwright has many ingenious moments and telling details scattered throughout the story, but the two-act structure feels like it contains a tight and funny one-act play that is unfortunately buried within the overwritten text. After intermission, once the intention behind the mystery is clear, the action becomes predictable well before the end.
First time director Beth Tantanella takes on the challenge of the unwieldy and talky script by setting a furious pace and coaching high-energy comic performances from her cast. Sean Keller and April Singer bring solid timing and a laudable physical commitment to their work here, and their effort goes a long way towards winning the audience over.
In truth, the story is a good one: a sweet take on romantic comedy tropes that is actually, at its core, a very simple and charming premise. The play just wastes too much energy on overcomplicating that premise. Tantanella and Doug Schutte nicely realize the design work on the apartment set.
June 19-22, 26-29, 2014 @ 7:30pm
Tickets for this show are “Pay What You Can” (suggested donation of $5-20) so that we can make this play affordable to ALL.
The Bards Town Theater
1801 Bardstown Road
Louisville, KY 40205