Anthony J. Piccione
- New York Theatre Critic
I love coffee. As do, I think it’s fair to say, the vast majority of us who work in theatre. Indeed, I often find myself surprised when I meet someone who says otherwise, in this industry. However, if there’s anything I love more than enjoying a good cup of coffee, it’s enjoying it with someone else. So I had a feeling that I’d probably enjoy watching a play that immediately seemed to revolve around that, and in the end, I got slightly more out of this story than I was expecting.
As one can probably guess from the title, this one-person show – written and performed by Antonia Kasper – tells the story of one woman who goes on dozens of different dates with dozens of different men, sipping tons of coffee along the way, as she searches for her Mr. Perfect. More than that, however, it is a vividly-detailed autobiography of a middle-aged woman who describes her past journeys and struggles in life, how she got to where she is now, and where she wants to be. There’s plenty of humor along the way, but also quite a few sad moments, particularly during the times where she talks about her past with her family. I will admit that not all the jokes landed with me, personally, but there were plenty others that did, and the more emotional parts of the play certainly resonated, as well.
As a performer, Ms. Kasper takes the audience with her on her journey with captivating energy. Some of the best comedic moments in the show are when she enacts her physical portrayals of the various characters she encounters, and the more sad moments of the play were delivered with vivid emotion. When she describes her character at the beginning as someone who once dreamt of being in Broadway musicals when she moved to New York, it doesn’t surprise me, in that there’s clearly an aura of confidence and passion that is common in many musical theatre pros, and helps carry this show.
This show also owes a great deal to director Katherine Elliot, who stages this show wonderfully, allowing the audience to easily envision what could be going on onstage during these scenes beyond the one actress who is performing on stage. The lighting and sound transitions also add to the entertainment value of the show, and help set the tone for each scene.
As I’ve previously admitted before in past reviews, romance is not exactly my favorite genre, so it should be telling that I’ve been as kind to this show as I’ve been in this review. I imagine those who do appreciate a good love story with a good balance of humor and sentimentality will probably like this show even more than I did, and I would especially encourage them to check it out while they can during its run at the Players Theatre, before it eventually gets adapted into a planned book and possible film.
“45 Coffee Dates” – presented by Kasper Productions – runs at the Players Theatre from April 6th-29th. For more information, please visit www.45coffeedates.com.