Reviews - Fringe 2017

LoveSpell

By Daniel O.W. Smith
Published July 20, 2016

LoveSpell makes a cheerful, spirited attempt at staging a play in the rom-com-that's-an-homage-to-rom-coms genre. The premise feels familiar, of course: two friends agree to marry each other should they fail to find a suitable match within a reasonable time period.

The cast is youthful, and Millennial hallmarks litter the characters' quest for love. They use Tinder, say "I can't even," and experience a minor panic when their smartphone dies on a road trip.

Unfortunately, this all makes the characters' desperation for lasting love, magnified by the passage of time, a little hard to believe.

Granted, the prospects of loneliness, death, and getting past child-rearing age haunt people of all ages. But watching two twentysomething best friends try to force romance against their better instincts, and then endure stock rom-com indignities like the awkward cuddle and the forced kiss, just doesn't feel that convincing in 2016.

It doesn't help that the plot is often more than a little hard to follow, leaping from place to place without explanation until it begins to come together a bit more toward the end.

That said, the play seems to be aiming for an exceedingly lighthearted place, and it hits that mark. There's not a dark or even a sentimental moment. Many of the gags are genuinely funny, and most of the audience seemed to have a ball.

The flaws that are here probably won't matter much for those who laugh easily, who are looking for an easygoing hour of entertainment, and who feel genuine affection for Millennial cultural inclinations.

Daniel O.W. Smith is a writer and editor who lives in Hamilton and comes from Maine. Feel free to get in touch via email.

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