Arthur M. Jolly’s A Very Modern Marriage is receiving its World Premiere by the Will Play for Food Theatre Group as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival. It’s a 75 minute dramedy about a marriage that is in a lot of trouble and probably not worth the effort to attempt to save it. The action opens with Matthew (Donal Thoms-Cappello) and Tina (Deborah Jensen) arriving back to their NYC apartment after dinner where they were joined by Tina’s gay friend Christopher (Esteban Andres Cruz). It’s their six year anniversary which Tina totally forgot. She berates Matt for not fully supporting her folk art gallery which he has been supporting financially since its opening. They seem to be constantly fighting and even though Matt professes his love for her, they don’t seem to have much of a relationship. When Christopher is thrown out by his lover, he moves onto their couch until he can find another place. He decides to play cupid and fix the marriage. Six months later he’s still there and the marriage is even shakier. Christopher admits he has always wanted Matt for himself and when after Tina moves out, he puts the make on Matt, cooking dinner, wearing a sex kimono, and even getting Matt to kiss him. Of course Tina walks in at that precise moment. A gun, a knife and recriminations all appear as the play winds down to an unsatisfactory ending.
It’s an interesting and timely concept but Jolly hasn’t executed it very well in his writing. Scott Marden’s direction keeps the action flowing but there is not much he or his cast can do to enliven the clichéd proceedings. Thoms-Cappello is fairly bland, Cruz is over-the-top caricatured swishy and Jensen is full bore shrew. Not a very fun trio to spend time with.
Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood. June 18, 25, 27. www.hollywoodfringe.com