Friday, March 05, 2010

Romance Romance

Somehow, in all my years of theatergoing, I had never seen this musical. This small off-off production, performed with two keyboards and running through this weekend as part of the Active Theater Company's season, proved an enjoyable and often charming introduction. The show is comprised of two one-act musicals: the first, adapted from a short story and set in late 19th century Vienna, concerns the often whimsical affair between a well-off confirmed bachelor and a socialite who are each secretly slumming; the second, adapted from a French play to take place present-day in the Hamptons, centers on the temptation for romance between a man and a woman who are best friends but married to other people. As the Viennese lovers, Nick Dalton and Abby Mueller make a far more engaging pair than Nathaniel Shaw and Stephanie Youell Binetti, who lack comparative warmth as the modern-day friends. Despite this, and less than ideal design elements, the show is generally delightful and comes off with a good deal of charm. Even if you're familiar with the material, it's worth catching for Dalton and especially for Mueller, who is altogether wonderful.

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