Sunday, September 14, 2014

"Sexy Laundry" at Park Square Theatre

St. Paul's Park Square Theatre has an exciting and ambitious 40th anniversary season  planned that includes the addition of a second stage, partnership with three small but well-respected theater companies, and a concerted effort to produce new works and hire diverse casts. It's big and exciting, but it all begins on a smaller scale. The first show of the season is the two-person relationship dramedy Sexy Laundry. This smart, funny, relevant play by Canadian playwright Michele Riml is a great way to ease into the season that could make Park Square one of the leading forces in this theater community.

Alice and Henry have been married for 25 years, have three kids, and have fallen into a rut. In attempt to get out of it, they have checked themselves into a swanky new hotel with a copy of Sex for Dummies. They play, argue, make progress, falter, vow to break up, and come back together again. In the busyness of life, family, career, and home, Alice and Henry need this time to reconnect not only with each other, but with themselves.

Henry and Alice find new ways of communicating
(John Middleton and Charity Jones)
The under 90-minute run time flies by as we come to know, love, be frustrated by, and perhaps see ourselves in these two people. This two-person cast, directed by Mary M. Finnerty, is comprised of the perfect pair in John Middleton and Charity Jones. John excels at playing the beleaguered everyman, a hardworking husband who just wants to watch the news when he comes home. Charity brings depth and vulnerability the role of the wife who wants something more than kids and laundry. The two have an easy comfortable chemistry with each other; it's easy to believe that they're an old married couple. Michael Hoover's crisp clean lines provide the hotel backdrop and playground on which the story plays out.

Sexy Laundry continues through the end of the month. Check it out for a smart and funny look at modern relationships. There's a sequel to Sexy Laundry called Henry and Alice: Into the Wild. Here's hoping that Park Square brings John and Charity back next season so we can find out what happens after that pivotal weekend in the hotel.