By Diana Saenger
By Diana Saenger
Make mine “Five Course Love,” the whole order, please, for the most fun I’ve had at the theater this year. From the moment the lights go up on the set of North Coast Repertory Theatre’s zany romantic comedy, there’s a feeling this San Diego premiere is going to be good!
Kevin B. McGlynn as Matt, just one of the five characters he will play, sits in his car trying to get through traffic to a restaurant for a blind date. Moments later at Dean's Bar-B-Que joint, Dean (Omri Schein) a pint-sized waiter in cowboy chaps and hat, informs Matt through song that his date is at the bar waiting and is hot, hot, hot.
Matt, who professes his companion-less life through the song “A Very Single Man,” suddenly has hope. As cute and sexy Barbie/Rosebud (Kristen Mengelkoch) whips her bodily charms around close to Matt, he’s delirious with delight. But moments later, when Dean confesses Barbie is not his blind date, Matt is again a “very single man.”
These three actors take the audience through four more “love” stories playing a host of characters inspired by the restaurants’ various themes. Each segment centers on romance — who will fall for whom? who will win the gal? and who will stay out of danger?
I’ve never heard so much laughter roaring from an audience throughout an entire play. The trio’s sexually suggestive antics are pure vaudeville genius.
Schein takes on several personas as Dean, Carlo, Heimlich and Ernesto. Small in size, Schein’s physique only accentuates his superb accent as Carlo, the waiter in an Italian restaurant where he’s a witness to an affair between a mobster’s gal and another mobster. “Will Nicky whack Gino or will he whack me?” he sings. As Heimlich, a German waiter enthralled with Gretchen and Klaus, the laughter at his frolics never stops.
Mengelkoch is astonishing in her roles. Whether the trouble-making Sophia about to be whacked by Nicky, the femme fatale at the Speiseplatz, or the horse-riding senorita Rosalinda, her accents, her songs – from operatic to silly – and each character in between are all exceptional.
The tall and winsome McGlynn adds yet another rich and amusing element to the cast of characters. Whipping his cape around and vying for Rosalinda’s love as Guillermo, or swooning into the Starlite Diner as the Elvis-clone Clutch to find his one true love, he rounds out this immensely talented cast perfectly.
Gregg Coffin’s book, music and lyrics are brilliant; Rick Simas’ direction is spot on; and the NCRT design team’s quick simple, set changes parody each eatery’s eccentricities. Don’t miss this one.
If you go
‘Five Course Love’
Matinees, evenings to Aug. 14
North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987 Lomas Santa Fe Dr. Solana Beach