"Love Song" focuses on a young man named Beane (Brandon Alan McClenahan), who for all intent and purposes is an exile from life. He has a well-meaning sister Joan (Jessica Hird) and brother-in-law Harry (Glenn Heath) who attempt to make time for him, but to little or no avail.
After a burglary on Beane’s apartment, Joan is perplexed to find her otherwise quiet and reclusive brother blissfully happy and tries to understand the mystery behind his new love Molly (Jessica Afton).
Director Erik Amblad did a fantastic job choosing this cast. It is as strong an ensemble as I have seen in quite some time. Brandon Alan McClenahan does an excellent job with the many complex moods that encompasses Beane. He created a character that the audience could sympathize with and get behind.
Jessica Hird and Glenn Heath were the perfect compliment for each other on stage as Joan and Harry. I appreciated their relationship’s transition from antagonistic to playful as Molly entered Beane’s life.
My favorite scene by far was the ’pantomime scene’ in which they decide to play hooky from work. The range of emotions from both of them when dealing with Beane, from frustration to hopeful, was very believable as well.
For me, the most interesting character was Molly, and Jessica Afton did an excellent job in bringing her to life. In her own special way, she provided hope for an otherwise hopeless young man. This was not an easy role, but Afton made it hers and the audience certainly appreciated the effort. All in all, I look forward to future performances from each of these fine actors.
Another highlight of the show was the lighting and sound design from Ryan Reason and Arles Estes. They captured the wide range of moods this show offers, without being overstated on any level. Estes is to be commended for the interesting original music that was displayed before the show, as well as throughout the performance.
Considering the smaller black box theater space, and all of the challenges that would accompany such a theater, the stage crew did an excellent job with the repeated transitions from Beane’s apartment to Joan and Harry’s house. This was an ambitious choice set wise, but the crew rose to the challenge.
My only concern with the production, and it is a minor one at that, would be a sight-line issue. I sat audience left and occasionally missed a little bit of the action that occurred. This was certainly understandable, because the designer needed to build a proscenium in order to accommodate the difficult scene changes that took place.
My recommendation would be to sit in the center, or even audience right, in order to fully appreciate the production. Still, the minor inconvenience did little to hamper my enjoyment of an excellent production.
"Love Song" is a strong script that is executed well by Cockroach Theatre. I highly recommend this show and encourage the Las Vegas community to experience this off beat comedic gem.