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Philadelphia by Tim Dunleavy

Let's Pretend We're Married
Act II Playhouse

Let's Pretend We're Married
Tony Braithwaite and Jennifer Childs
Let's Pretend We're Married is a skewed salute to married life that works because the stars don't take its subject—or themselves—seriously for a moment. Tony Braithwaite and Jennifer Childs aren't really married (Braithwaite is single, while Childs is married to actor Scott Greer), so their show about marriage ends up being anything but solemn. No big pronouncements on the meaning of devotion and commitment—just a little song, a little dance, and a lot of enthusiastic comedy skits, some original and some lovingly borrowed from the masters.

Braithwaite and Childs kick things off with delightful impressions of George Burns and Gracie Allen, then do the same for comics who have tackled the subject of marriage, including Jerry Seinfeld, Roseanne Barr, Henny Youngman and Phyllis Diller. In each case, Braithwaite and Childs recreate the stars' charm as well as their voices, which is an exceedingly difficult trick. And to show us it's not all a bed of roses, we get a hilarious argument from the 1940s radio comedy "The Bickersons," and an original skit about a pair of squabbling lounge singers who sing inappropriate versions of cheesy songs like "Sometimes When We Touch." (Owen Robbins provides solid support on piano.)

Two audience participation bits are a mixed bag: a recreation of TV's "The Newlywed Game" works gangbusters thanks to the stars' improv skills, but a scene in which a couple's marriage vows are renewed onstage feels like a time filler, even for a show that only runs 70 minutes. But throughout, Braithwaite and Childs are clearly having a ball, and you'll get a kick out seeing a partnership that seems a lot more harmonious better than a lot of real marriages. As they sing in the show's opening moments, "It's Almost Like Being in Love."

Let's Pretend We're Married runs through January 22, 2012 at at Act II Playhouse, 56 East Butler Avenue, Ambler, Pennsylvania. Ticket prices range from $27 to $33, with discounts available for students and groups, and may be purchased by calling the box office at 215-654-0200, online at www.act2.org or in person at the box office.

Let's Pretend We're Married
Lighting Design: Shelley Hicklin
Stage Manager: Georgia Schlessman
Piano Player: Owen Robbins
Originally produced by 1812 Productions in Philadelphia.

Cast:
Tony Braithwaite
Jennifer Childs


-- Tim Dunleavy



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