Romance Language -- Comedy, Melodrama or Mystery?
The world premiere play, Romance Language, now at the Seven Angels Theater in Waterbury through April 27 is one of those works whose ambitions go beyond its ability to achieve them.
The premise is potentially amusing -- a successful, single lawyer thinks her mom needs to do more than sit around her luxurious New York City apartment. Mom is a mid-50s divorcee whose husband has since died. She is well off and seemingly content to do very little.At her daughter's urging she decided to take Italian lessons. But rather than go to one of the numerous courses offered in the city, she hires Fiore, Italian native in his late 30s. He is charming and attractive and the mother is soon smitten.
The daughter is suspicious -- as Fiore romances Mom, the daughter finds out this is not the first time he has charmed an older woman. When his suit was rejected, there was missing jewelry. Daughter also seems unusually attached to the memory of her father whom she still apparently idolizes.
So what happens and why? Is the daughter jealous of her mother's happiness? Is Fiore simply after Mom's money and citizenship? How far will the daughter go to break up the romance?
It's potentially interesting. But somehow the dialogue is flat, the direction equally so, and the actors struggle with their characters. The humor is slight and certainly the script is stacked against the daughter.
The play may have a future. I'm sure playwright Joe Godfrey is learning much from this production. I can only hope that he uses the insight wisely. Does he want a comedy? a melodrama? or a mystery? He needs to decide.
Romance Language is at Seven Angels Theater through April 27.
This review aired on WNHU 88.7 fm and wnhu.net