REVIEW: Bad Dates

635981519713739929-bad-dates-04

This was not really what I expected.  Not totally, anyway.  (Hint:  It was much better.)  A solid chick-flick-on-stage, this one woman play is full of laughs, drama, intrigue, and a whole lot of shoes.

Vivia Font stars as Haley, our protagonist, and she recounts several bad dating experiences.  Not unlike the wonderful I LOVED, I LOST, I MADE SPAGHETTI, this whirlwind of a production takes us on an autobiographical journey. Unlike that show, though, this Teresa Rebeck penned comedy has a heart-palpating mystery element.  In fact, I was reminded several times of Janet Evanovichs’s “Stephanie Plum” novels in tone.  That’s high praise.

Font is engaging, loveable, and bubbly.  Southern charm balanced by New York sensibility, her “Haley” is someone we root for.  The way she moved around the stage, keeping the audience’s rapt attention for both acts is a credit to both the actress and director Michael Evan Haney, who has done marvelous work with one-person shows over the last several years.

All of the technical elements are superb, with a surprising and inventive scene change sequence that lights up the entire room.  Good work by lighting designer Phil Monat.  Costuming takes center stage in a production like this and Anne Kennedy’s work should be praised. Bill Clarke’s set design is functional and believable.

BAD DATES is a tremendous tale of love gone awry; but more than that its a flat out fun night at the theatre.  I needed that.

BAD DATES plays through June 12th in the Thompson Shelterhouse at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.  Click here for more details.