Five Course Love
Winter Park Playhouse, Winter Park FL
by Carl F. Gauze
Book, Music and Lyrics by Gregg Coffin
Directed by Roy Alan
Musical Direction by Chris Leavy</b>
It might be the quarantine, and I’m not saying it is, but the Winter Park Playhouse stage is getting just a bit explicit. Tonight, we welcome three actors walking us though five romances starting with a nerdy guy in a two-stepping western bar and ending with a dense biker and a nerdy girl in a burger bar. The house was almost post-Covid full, with all rows occupied by a shared yet socially distanced set back. Matt (Dustin Cunningham) fights traffic to meet his first date in way too long. The joint has changed owners and themes and he accidentally meets a hot to trot Country and Western two stepping two timing Barbie (Holli Trisler) in the smokey “Dean’s Old-Fashioned All-American Down Home Bar-B-Que Texas Eats.” Things are getting hot and heavy very quickly for the third song in a WPPH show, but to turns out Matt’s in the wrong bar AND the wrong league.
Next, we have a little Mafia action on the Jersey Shore with a chalk stripe mobster Carlo (Cunningham) and Sofia (Trisler) as the Jersey shore dream girl with too much make up and too high heels and too much male baggage (If Nicky Knew / Nicky Knows. There’s a body, but its out in the parking lot and headed for the dog food factory so we don’t worry it too much. Girls can get away with murder in these parts, and so do the guys.
Intermission. Yeah, it felt too early, but hey: the bar is open.
Act two and now things get weird. Winter Park weird, but weird. The permanent waiter Heimlich (Biner) is all done up in his best lederhosen and its off to the off off Broadway version of Cabaret. It’s a three way love fest with all pairs and persuasions floating to the top at one point or another. We visit a German beer hall and cabaret, we dance the “Der Bumsen-Kratzentanz” all night long, which might be the rudest thing ever sung on this stage, and we drink gallons of bee. I don’t recommend google translating that last song title, at least not at work. Then its on to some Spanish daring-do with the “Ballad of Guillermo.” It’s filled with Spanish fire, Spanish boldness, and Spanish horses ( the cute wooded ones with a stick to ride on.” It’s longish but makes sense, at least in a romantic story sort of way.
We wrap up with a 1950’s doo-wop segment. Kitty is desperate to gain the attention of the rather dim leather jackets rocker Matt. She left him an anonymous message loaded with cues about her love for him and he’s unable to parse it to point to her as the girl who finds him dreamy. It’s great singing and poor romancing on his part, and ultimately, we leave Kitty to drift off to another, more intelligent man. Great fun mixed up romance, and an edge not often seen on this stage. Bring a date or two and have a good time.