By Craig Lucas.
Directed by Derek Bertelsen.
Produced by the comrades.
At the Greenhouse Theatre, Chicago.
Dated romantic comedy plays off the mark.
Prelude to a Kiss is a 1988 play by Craig Lucas that was first performed in 1990. It tells the story of a couple that falls in love despite the girl’s pessimistic outlook on life. Shortly after their wedding, a supernatural event tests the strength of their love and commitment to each other. This fantasy is a dated attempt to be an indirect commentary about the AIDS epidemic.
The Press notes state: “In this modern day fairy tale, an uninvited guest turns a perfect wedding into a white-knuckled rollercoaster ride of doubt and regret. When an elderly “wedding crasher” kisses the bride, their souls exchange, leaving the brave but bewildered groom to reverse the curse armed only with the power of love.”
This 95 minute one-act is beset with problems. From the green checkered set best used for a 60’s eick musical to the over-the-top campy comic staging to the uneven, often over acting by the key characters, Prelude To A kiss comes off as a low quality attempt at romantic comedy. If you’re going to mount a dated romantic comedy, best you find strong actors, especially in the three key characters. David Coupe, as Peter, tried too hard to be the frustrated husband while Bethany Hart, as Rita, the wife seemed to contradict herself throughout. Ed McGuire, as the Old Man, came off as unbelievable and unsure.
The swift pacing and the constant moving of the stage boxes and the too strong pushing of the comic elements quickly became irritating. The subtle reference to the AIDS crisis got lost since it is now 2017 so the fantasy here comes off as dated and strange. This uneven production tried too hard to eek humor. The material is dated and the performances are spotty. I’d pass on this one.
Date Reviewed: January 14, 2017.
For more info checkout the Prelude To A Kiss page at theatreinchicago.com.
At the Greenhouse Theatre, 2257 N. Lincoln, Chicago, Il, call 773-404-7336, www.the-comrades.com, tickets $15 – $20, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 8pm., running time is 95 minutes without intermission, through February 4, 2017.