Living on Love On Stage at 2nd Space Theatre

Jun 29, 2022 | 2022 Articles, Terrance V. Mc Arthur, Theatre

by Terrance Mc Arthur

It’s 1957—A lavish New York penthouse apartment. She’s a world-famous opera singer. He’s a revered orchestra conductor. Life should be perfect, right? It isn’t, but it’s very funny in Living on Love, playing through August 14 at Good Company Players’ 2nd Space Theatre.

Written by Joe DiPietro (I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change), based on a play by Garson Kanin (Born Yesterday), Vito (Patrick Allan Tromborg) and Raquel (Renee Newlove) De Angelis are nearing the end of their careers, and plan memoirs to rake in the cash while they are still remembered. A string of ghostwriters only produced two usable pages with Vito, who insists on spinning wild sexual exploits that defy plausibility, and he has already spent the publisher’s advance. A junior assistant-assistant editor (Cassidy Leclair) is dispatched to get the book written. Vito spends most of his time trying to seduce her, and is surprised by the arrival of his wife. Raquel hires a young writer (Benjamin Geddert) who idolizes her to write her story, and the twists and turns commence, a French farce without all the doors.

Cast of GCP’s production of “Living On Love”

Tromborg prowls the stage like a craggy old bull elephant, rising in anger at the mention of Leonard Bernstein, slyly courting the young female with the musical aid of Ravel’s Bolero, and avoiding any facts about himself. Tromborg possesses decades of experience in handling an audience, and he knows how far to take an Italian accent without losing clarity.

Raquel (Renee Newlove) and the young writer Robert Samson (Benjamin Geddert) in GCP’s production of “Living on Love”

Newlove goes full-tilt diva, swirling along in body-defying costumes courtesy of Ginger Kay Lewis Reed, who skillfully raided the couture fashions of the Nifty Fifties for inspiration. Newlove is enrapturing as a woman used to being adored, overjoyed to find a young man who worships her. On Broadway, this role was played by Renee Fleming, an opera star. Upon being cast, Newlove embarked on a crash course of online vocal training, allowing her to let loose some powerful, soaring tones. She can go toe to toe with Tromborg and acquit herself well.

Vito (Patrick Allan Tromborg) and junior assistant-assistant editor Iris Peabody (Cassidy Leclair) in GCP’s production of “Living On Love”

Leclair comes off as Audrey Hepburn with a New York accent and a touch of Beth Henley, naïve and eager, with dreams of making a splash in the publishing industry. Geddert has done so many 2nd Space shows of late that he should pay rent on his space in the dressing room, and I still say he looks like Cary Elwes. He fawns at the diva’s feet like a puppy, and is a pro at sounding frustrated.

Ethan Magill and Charis are the Rosencrantz & Guildenstern/Tweedledee & Tweedledum of the evening, butlers who know everything about everyone, but nobody knows anything about them. They put things away, bring things in, and boss everybody, until they deliver the final surprise of the play.

The director, J. Daniel Herring, keeps his actors going at a lively pace, not giving the audience room for anything but laughter. David Pierce’s set shimmers with an excess that matches the bigger-than-life characters.

The only message here is Love Conquers All, so laugh at it. Living On Love is on stage through August 14. The 2nd Space Theatre is at 928 E. Olive Ave, in Fresno. For tickets and further information, contact www.gcplayers.com, or call (559) 266-9494.

If you love local theatre, be sure to check out Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors. You can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, and also on podbean.

Check out more theatre reviews & other local entertainment articles in our Arts & Entertainment section. You can also find more theatre coming up on KRL’s Local Theatre event page.

Terrance V. Mc Arthur worked for the Fresno County Public Library for three decades. He is retired, but not retiring. A storyteller, puppeteer, writer, actor, magician, basketmaker, and all-around interesting person, his goal is to make life more unusual for everyone he meets.

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