by CHRISTINE SARKES SASSEVILLE
New Century Theatre’s musical comedy, Five Course Love, is a light, sometimes naughty, cabaret-style evening of entertainment catering to the Valentine’s Day date-night crowd. The quality of the material is mixed, with some genuinely funny moments. The three performers, who play five characters each, give it everything they’ve got. Ryan McGuire Grimes, Amanda Weis, and Joseph Pyfferoen deserve special praise for carrying the entire show: each had a strong voice and great comedic timing, versatility and stage presence.
The actors play 15 different characters in five restaurants as each looks for true love and the meaning of love (or lust). The evening begins at Dean’s Old-Fashioned All-American Down-Home Bar-B-Que Texas Eats, where a blind date goes wrong. At the Trattoria Pericolo, a mob wife has a secret rendezvous behind her husband’s back. At De Schlupfwinkel Speiseplatz, a waiter, a dominatrix and her kept man discover they are all dating each other. In Ernesto’s Cantina, a hill bandit and his rival battle for the hand of the beautiful Rosalinda. And at the Star-Lite Diner, a waitress pines for her true love and gets a little help from Cupid.
The second half of the evening was more successful than the first, which was slower paced and veered toward the corny. The second half contained the naughty bits and demonstrated the comedic versatility of the cast. Five Course Love offers fluff and a few chuckles and may be the silly fare you seek to end an evening after a dinner downtown.
Five Course Love, music, lyrics and book by Gregg Coffin. Directed by Steven Meerdink with Musical Director Suzanne Reyburn. At the New Century Theatre, now through February 6. Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 5 p.m. Full details at http://www.aboutmmt.org/five-course-love. 615 Hennepin Avenue, Street Level, Minneapolis 55403. Tickets: $24.00 to $29.00. Call box office at: 612.455.950; groups of 10 or more: 612.455.9525.