Tasha Lawrence (Claire in the national tour of Proof) is our high-energy guide through Haley's return to the dating scene after the painful breakup of her marriage. Lawrence wins us over quickly with the quirky parts of Haley's personality and the optimism, followed by disappointment, of her first few dates. We share the deliberation over outfits and shoes for each date as Haley opens her closet and her world to us. Not just a series of date stories, Bad Dates sets up an interesting throughline of Haley's personal life and the ups and down of her restaurant career, with a satisfying (if a bit far-fetched) ending.
There is no fourth wall as Lawrence draws the audience in with non-stop conversation, occasionally reacting humorously to the sounds of approval and agreement from the audience. Rebeck has written a captivating character in Hayley; Lawrence fleshes her out with an open and infectious charm. This production offers great material delivered perfectly - what more can one ask?
Tony Ferrieri has designed a most inviting and cozy bedroom set, with all the accoutrements of a young Manhattanite with a bit of a fetish about shoes. Though the real life version of this apartment wouldn't be as spacious, the design works well in this theatre space. Lawrence looks great in each outfit, with costuming by Pei-Chi Su. Lighting (Matthew J. Kopans) and sound (Elizabeth Atkinson) are also spot on, coming together particularly well when Haley opens the door to her teenage daughter's room. Alice Jankell's direction pulls everything together for a splendid evening.
Bad Dates continues through March 26 at the City Theatre's Lester Hamburg Studio Theatre. For performance and ticket information, call 412-431-CITY or visit www.citytheatrecompany.org.
Steven Dietz' Fiction is currently being presented in the City's mainstage theater.