Never the Bridesmaid at Polarity Ensemble Theatre | Theater review
Bill Jepsen's new romcom is sappy, static and loaded with clichés.
Picture a Hallmark movie. Now picture it as a three-camera, single-set sitcom. You have a close approximation of Bill Jepsen’s new romcom, a static, sappy play overloaded with clichés and predictable plot twists.
Anthony (a charming Nick Lake) and Maria (Lindsey Pearlman) are twins living with their parents—Anthony because he’s paying off student loans from two master’s degrees, Maria because she’s had three failed marriages (one death, two divorces). They’re each attracted to the other’s best friend, two characters who always appear just after someone has been talking about them.
All the action’s stuck in the parents’ living room, which isn’t the most conducive environment for two budding romances. The relationships grow offstage, then the couples return to the living room so they can argue about things like having kids and moving cross-country before they even start dating. None of it feels natural in Shavzin’s cartoonish staging. The exaggerated comedy jibes poorly with a dramatic turn Jepsen takes in Act II. This twist allows Daria Harper to tap into some genuine emotion as Anthony and Maria’s mother, but it stretches the evening’s length past the point of tolerability.