The Love List is a modern comedy by Norm Foster, Canada’s most produced playwright. This three-character play follows two middle-aged men who populate a list of ideal characteristics in a mate, only to find that when the woman described by the list appears, there is sometimes a stark difference between idealism and reality. This fast-paced play is stuffed with comedic opportunities to explore men’s attitudes about love, lust, dating and marriage.
HE SAID: The script provides a million opportunities for comedy and leaves open a lot for the actors and director to put their own stamp on the show – especially with how the female character, Justine, is portrayed through all of her variations and how the two men, Bill and Leon, interact with her and react to the growing chaos. This cast did pretty well hitting most of the comedy, but the real highlight for me was Missy Moore as Justine. She is tasked with playing a person who continuously changes her fundamental personality throughout the show, and she handled it well for the most part.
SHE SAID: I really enjoyed the entire production — I haven’t been treated to a Norm Foster play before, and the writing clipped along and kept me engaged and laughing. I thought that Robert Michael Sanders was very skillful as the central character (Bill). He was endearing and sympathetic, which was necessary to keep the audience on board. I also enjoyed Missy Moore as Justine, but most of her work didn’t pay off until the second act for me. Her tone was very uniform during the first act, which was in stark contrast to her skillful execution of rapid personality oscillations in the second act (when she made me laugh out loud several times).
HE SAID: I entirely disagree with you about Justine in the first act. I felt as if she were playing it a tad Barbie-esque, which is spot on as she plays the manifestation of Bill’s “perfect woman”. On the other hand, Bill (Robert Michael Sanders) and Leon (Michael Ingram) had moments of sheer hilarity, but they could have taken advantage of more comedic opportunities if they were more vocally dynamic. Also, they could have used a bit more physicality, especially Ingram who really needed to take his hand out of his pockets. It really became a crutch for being physically unsure and actually interrupted his simple actions like opening the door.
SHE SAID: I can see what you mean regarding Justine. I just lost a little interest in her because I didn’t see much variation, but maybe I’m just not interested in that type of Barbie woman! Although there was some room for growth in the men’s performances, I thought they were skilled enough to convey the considerable comedy in the piece. I did see (and enjoy) growth and variation in Robert Michael Sanders’s performance. I do think that the comedic timing between the two men will be better as the run goes on — it was good but not excellent, yet. For the record, I didn’t notice Leon’s hand in his pockets until it was brought to my attention at intermission. (Then of course, I couldn’t help noticing it. Sorry, readers.)
HE SAID: I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the set dressing for this show (by Kay Chambers), because it was remarkable. The set was the front part of an apartment, but the set dressing was so detailed and so intricate I could tell you the type of person that lived there before the show even started. There were little pictures all over the place, somewhat disheveled couch decor, and boxes all over the place perfectly signifying the owner as an older bachelor. It is really a tricky art to dress a set and this was perfect.
SHE SAID: We both took note of the set dressing before the show began, and it ended up being an integral part of the performance. The other design elements worked together to convey the story well — it really did seem like the audience was sitting in on a modern apartment and watching a story (that happened to be hilarious) unfold.
THEY SAID: We both agree that the author, Norm Foster, has set up a hysterical premise (that should connect to anyone regardless of age or gender) and expands that premise into a universe of comedic possibilities, most of which this production finds. Although, we both feel that a greater variety, physically and vocally, would benefit the show by allowing different intensities and moments to land with full force, we found the performers to be consistently funny throughout the piece. We actually disagree on who the highlight of the show is, but that’s one of the best kinds of arguments to be having! We encourage you to go see The Love List and form your own opinion – it’ll be a win for you either way.
The limited run has 7:30 pm performances on Fridays and Saturdays and two Sunday 2 pm matinees (Aug. 15, 22) beginning July 30th through Sunday, August 22nd. WARNING: This show contains sexual themes and adult language. Click the poster below for tickets and info on this and other shows at THAC!