Love and Money

By Dennis KellyLove and Money by Dennis Kelly

Directed by Robin Witt

At Steep Theatre, Chicago

Individual and duet speeches dilutes the power of Kelly’s cautionary morality tale

Steep Theatre and director Robin Witt teamed up for the hit show Pornography last summer that also contained many monologues and speeches directly to the audience.  This style seems to be in fashion in London these days. In the hands of skilled, articulate actors with deft British accents, this style can hold audience’s attention for as the long speeches are colorful, revealing and truthful. The writing must be interesting and be able to move the story a long.

Love and Money

I must say that playwright Dennis Kelly over works the speeches that come across as  as personal confessionals or sketches or interwoven scenarios  that have a thin strand with one couple – David (Peter Moore) and Jess (Julia Siple) – debt-laden misery of a married couple as their spending and lavish lifestyle threaten their peace.

We witness David in a long monologue via a text messaging to his French girlfriend wherein he admits  that his wife’s suicide allowed him to buy an Audi automobile. David also confesses to not helping his wife when he discovers that she is still alive after attempting suicide.

There are other confessional speeches including a duet by  two bereaved parents who graphically admit to the desecration of the neighboring memorial where their daughter is buried because it’s become too showy, overshadowing their daughter’s grave. There is a conversation by a sex-obsessed man and a woman who attempts to poison her bosses coffee machine. There is also a monologue by Jess about the origins of the universe.

All these speeches substitute for action and character development that never fully engaged me since the monotony of the speeches together with the disjointed lack of story focus never resonated enough for me to care.  Kelly’s cautionary tale of debt, obsession with money and purchasing things could have been presented with more action and a stronger sense of story. I’d like to know more about David and Jess.

Despite  the above problems, the Steep show has enough spark due to the outstanding acting by Peter Moore, Julia Siple, and Jason Michael Linder and Molly Reynolds.  This cast exudes all the angst of debt and the falseness of the pursuit of money. One could wish that playwright Kelly had given them more dramatic situations and less speeches to  present his cautionary tale. The actors do save the day – Steep’s ensemble usually does.

Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: January 19, 2012

Jeff Recommended

For more info about Love And Money checkout the theatreinchicago.com

At Steep Theatre, 1115 W. Berwyn, Chicago, IL, www.steeptheatre.com, tickets $2- – $22, Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 8 pm, Running time is 90 minutes without intermission, through February 25, 2012