Love and Money
Steep excels in translating British angst to the American stage
|Steep Theatre presents|
|Love and Money|
Review by Katy Walsh
‘What I did for love, what I did for love.‘ Romantics versus capitalists? There’s no contest. Public support favors people’s idiotic antics in pursuit of love. It’s easy to get behind some fool whipped into a frenzy over a guy or gal. What wouldn’t you do for someone you loved? How much of yourself could you afford to give up for them? At what price does the love stop?
Steep Theatre presents the Midwest Premiere of Love and Money. David hooked up with a colleague. She is attracted to his charming sincerity. He bumbles his way through some email communiques. She pushes him to be completely honest with her. He hesitates. She coerces. He spills his guts. David details the horrific ending to his wife’s life. The truth ends the new affair and starts a flashback of the marriage. When did the love stop and the greed start? Love and Money spirals backwards to show the deconstruction of a marriage.
Playwright Dennis Kelly penned a series of scenes interlaced with snippets of David and Jesse’s story. It has a “Memento”-like feel. The chronological order is reversed. And the degree of connectivity to the marriage’s demise is often subtle. Under the direction of Robin Witt, the pacing flows with a lyrical smoothness. A scene with Molly Reynolds and Jason Michael Lindner is a perfect and hilarious shared monologue. Reynolds and Lindner’s timing is completely in sync. Later, the talented ensemble takes the stage to deliver a versed scene in unison. The acting is powerful. The technique engaging.
Similar to last season’s Pornography, Steep Theatre delivers solid British-accented performances. The story is fragmented chunks with lingering effects. They have varying degrees of connectivity. I’m drawn to Peter Moore’s transformation. But seeing the end results *first* keeps me from complete engrossment in his conversion. I’m leery! Julia Siple’s breakdown seems heart-wrenching but by the time we meet, I’m already prejudiced. I’ve seen her husband and her parents. Her upbringing and marriage are marred with materialism. I’m not as sympathetic to her outcome over some CD’s.
On one level, Love and Money fascinates me into wanting to piece the puzzle together. It’s a bit of a why-whodunit-did-it mystery. On the other hand, I’m concentrating so hard looking for clues that I’m distracted. I’m never completely absorbed in what’s happening. I’m more captivated by how it’s happening. Love and Money is another solid Steep offering. It’s another disturbing drama from across the pond. Steep folks know how to translate British angst onto an American stage. After all, Steep is Masterpiece Theatre!
Love and Money continues through February 25th at Steep Theatre, 1115 W. Berwyn (map), with performances Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8pm. Tickets are $20-$22, and are available by phone (866-811-4111) or online at OvationTix.com (check for half-price tickets at Goldstar.com). More information at SteepTheatre.com. (Running time: 90 minutes with no intermission)
All photos by Lee Miller
behind the scenes
Robin Witt** (director); Julia Siple* (production manager); Lauren Lassus (stage manager); Dan Stratton (set design); Brandon Wardell** (lighting); Jessica Kuehnau (costumes); Mike Ross (sound design); Aimee Plant (props); Kendra Thulin (dialect coach); Ashley-Marie Quijano (asst. director); Delia Ridenour (asst. costumes); Lee Miller (photos)
* denotes Steep Company Member
* * denotes Steep Artistic Associate
3words: Watching “Downton Abbey” unintentionally in reverse, James describes it with ‘emotionally draining performances.’