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Wednesday, August 13,2014

Viagra falls

Musical comedy ‘Married Alive!’ takes aim at life after ‘I do’

by Tom Helma
The 2014-‘15 theater season is off to an inauspicious beginning with "Married Alive," Over the Review Ledge Theater Co.’s lackluster midsummer musical.

Before the show, director Rick Dethlefsen urged the audience to follow his mother’s advice: If they find themselves with nothing good to say after the performance, don’t say anything at all. On the other hand, my mom urged me to always tell the truth, so here goes.

The play serves up stereotypes of two married couples, one young, the other in midlife. Neither couple remotely resembles any married couple anywhere in real life, ever.

The slim storyline consists of a chronological sequence of vignettes from the two marriages, all of them set to song, with an incessant, intrusive piano accompaniment.

What went wrong? It could be the script, which is insulting to women and men alike. A husband dresses himself up as Zorro and wraps his wife in a strange, not-so-sexy shawl to spice up their sex life. But — wait for the punchline — he forgets to take his Viagra. The other husband is less articulate than an ape while his wife is a fluffy chatterbox.

Or maybe it’s the awkward, too-loudly miked acting. Or is it the off-key singers, straining to stay on pitch? Sorry to say it, it is all of the above.

Dethlefsen isn’t usually off the mark like this, but he’s not the only one. Joe Dickson’s lighting skills often enhance the ambience of an already good play, but in this production, bright flashes of LED lighting momentarily blind the audience from time to time.

Erratic, out-of-context videography is thrown into the mix. Did I mention the odd costumes and the clumsy choreography? Yikes! Am I piling it on? Itīs hard not to, where this production is concerned.

“Married Alive!”

Over the Ledge Theatre Co.

8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Aug. 14-17; 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18 Ledges Playhouse 137 Fitzgerald Drive, Grand Ledge $12/$10 seniors/$7 students (517) 318- 0579, overtheledge.org

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