Center Stage’s latest production, “LUV,” is billed as comedy, replete with lines that will make you howl with laughter. The play also offers substantial insights to the blunders we all make when seeking love in all the wrong places with all the wrong people.
Brilliantly directed by Chuck White, who also designed the set, this production offers playwright Murray Schisgal’s penetrating insights into the comic hopelessness of our jaded efforts to find someone to love.
Eccentric Harry Berlin (Daniel Brown) has given up on life and decided to leap off a bridge, when his old Poly Arts U classmate, uber-successful Milt Mansville (Chet Landry) happens along and prevents the high dive.
After swapping stories of who had the worst childhood, Harry admits his marriage to Ellen, played by Maureen “Mo” Smith, has grown tedious and persuades Milt to meet her with a chance to find the love that has always eluded him.
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Arriving on the scene, Ellen relates how her dreams of love with Harry have long since died, and the two strangers embark on a whirlwind romance after practically beating each other senseless to prove they are unarguably in love.
Romantic hijinks ensue, as does a story that never fails to keep the playgoer both involved and entertained. Tech advisor John Poelema and stage manager Becky Wright give this veteran cast every opportunity to shine like the monolithic moon that haunts every move they make.
Along the way, White directs, and the players adroitly execute, the Chaplinesque pratfalls and physical comedy that abet the humor and pathos that are the heart and soul of this piece. Much of the action takes place overlooking the abyss, i.e., on the bridge itself and at the edge of the stage, offering the audience an intimate glimpse into the soul of the actor’s art.
When not flying off bridges, tossing knives around or smacking each other with umbrellas, fists and whatever else comes to hand, Brown, Landry and Smith offer delightfully nuanced performances with every studied gesture, glance and groan.
Their attainments alone would be sufficient justification to see this show, even if Schisgal’s script hadn’t sparkled so brightly throughout both acts.
“LUV” runs through Oct. 2, with 7:30 p.m. performances and 2 p.m. matinees Sundays. Call 228-388-6258 for tickets.
If you go
What: Center Stage Theatre Production of “LUV”
Where: 240 Eisenhower Dr., Biloxi
When: Sept. 22 through Oct. 2, with 7:30 p.m. performances except for 2 p.m. matinee Sundays.
Also: In conjunction with the play, watercolor art of Kay Broussard of Biloxi will be diplayed in the Center Stage Theatre. Her work depicts realistic florals, birds and seascapes.
For tickets: 228-388-6258