It’s Kind of a Love Story – Artamiss production of Naomi Peltz’s play – is at St. Vlad’s Theatre as part of the Toronto Fringe. It’s kind of a boy meets girl, falls in love, girl wants to just be friends story.
Except that the girl is in love with the boy but is afraid that if she tells him then he won’t love her, so she dates someone else.
Alison (Erin Burgess) and Michael (Chris Isaak) have been best friends for five years. The play opens with Michael helping a drunk Alison on to a bed and leaving.
In the next scene a distraught Alison is talking with Bonnie (Claire Hunter), a therapist. Something had happened the night before and Alison’s mother had ‘implored’ the therapist to see Alison immediately. The story unfolds with Alison telling little bits to the therapist. After each little bit the scene switches to Alison and Michael fleshing out the little bits of information.
I liked the scenes between Alison and Michael. They seemed a more natural way to tell the story. Some of the dialogue was quite relaxed and funny.
I found the ones between Alison and her therapist quite frustrating. I kept wondering why the therapist was there at all. She didn’t really seem to be serving any purpose at all. Then, at the end, she delivered a speech that had to be delivered by a third person, neither Alison nor Michael could do it. It was felt almost as though she was in the play only to say those lines and the rest of her part was filler.
That wasn’t the only challenge for me. The writing felt uneven. Bonnie’s speech was very formal, no contractions and lots of words that no one uses any more. Alison’s speech veered back and forth from formal to colloquial. These contradictions were distracting. I think a play needs to have an overall ‘voice’; it helps to establish a rhythm that engages the audience. When I’m as aware of the way the characters are speaking, the way I was tonight, it’s a sure sign that I’m not engaged.
The character who seemed most three dimensional, the one that appealed to me, who I could identify with, was Michael. I find it fascinating that a woman playwright would produce such a well rounded male character while her female characters seem one dimensional.
I’m not going to write about the story that unfolds, that wouldn’t be fair. But I will tell you that I found the ending unsatisfying. I felt that Michael wimped out in the end. But, it’s possible that I’m just a jaded old lady and a younger audience would relate to the story. Only one way to find out how you’ll react. Details on showtimes and how to get tickets are below.
It’s Kind of a Love Story plays at St. Vlad’s Theatre (620 Spadina Ave.)
July 05 at 08:00 PM
July 06 at 12:00 PM
July 07 at 01:15 PM
July 10 at 11:00 PM
July 11 at 06:15 PM
July 12 at 05:15 PM
Tickets for all mainstage productions are $10 at the door, cash only. Advance tickets are $12, and can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), or from the festival box office at the Fringe Club. (Rear of Honest Ed’s, 581 Bloor St. West). Money-saving value packs are also available if you are going to at least five shows; see website for details
LATECOMERS ARE NEVER ADMITTED TO FRINGE SHOWS. To avoid disappointment, be sure to arrive a few minutes before curtain.
Photo of Erin Burgess and Chris Isaak by Kimberly Hoy Lapp