Relationships suck, we all have certainly said this once or twice, as the clever play with the same title points out. Recently I had the pleasure of watching this hilarious and witty play at The Loft Ensemble theater in Downtown L.A. The theater has vintage inclination and you can feel an artsy vibe as soon you walk in. From puppets hanging from the ceiling to candles, the theater presents a very welcoming place. And you are greeted with what I can only call ‘’breakup music’’ setting the tone for the play.
Relationships Suck! takes us through the story of 5 roommates who are best friends and they all have a romantic relationship that is not particularly going well, with issues anyone can relate to. Set in present time in Los Angeles, in what appears to be a loft apartment innkeeping with the tone of the theater itself.
At the top of the play we see Alex (Javier Melgar Santovena) come out dancing in his underwear as he cleans the apartment and as this goes on the other roommates come out. The fourth wall is broken as all the characters have asides to the audience in which they tell us the reality of what they are feeling. Alex falls in love with Andrew (Nick Mcgloughlin) a handsome player that lives down the hall. Michael (Peter Elliott) has the girlfriend from hell (Lauren Sperling), Sophia (Michaela Kahan) has the perfect boyfriend Robert (Kristian Mcgiver) but something doesn’t feel right. And last but certainly not least we have Brenda and Barry (Alex Fream and Mitch Rossander) who seem to be the misfits the only ones who don’t have a relationship but that sucks for them as well. The play takes us through the hilarious interactions of the roommates/friends as they live day by day with a sitcom feel to it. And then we immerse into each of their relationships, and why find out why they particularly suck.
All the actors are worth noting for this play is definitely an ensemble piece and one character can’t be without the other but I find it pertinent to mention the standouts, like Alex Fream as Brenda the gothic and angry roommate who has a whit like no other. Mitch Rossander as the lovable, naïve and just plain cute Barry. The hysterical Sophia played by Michaela Kahan who really takes us on a neurotic journey in the most hilarious way. But a special mention to Javier Melgar Santovena who plays the lead Alex, who shows us a combination of bitter, sad, funny, sarcastic, sexy and completely lovable human being; I know it’s a lot but the realness of this character will make anyone relate to his pain and irony. Oh and did I forget to mention Javier is also the writer of the play. He is the mind behind this amazing sitcom for theater, based all on real stories.
I must end with telling you that this show is a must see, you’ll have a great time, a good laugh and maybe a cry here and there; but no matter what you will leave the theater feeling something. This is what I would call the perfect combination of Friends and Will & Grace, a feel-good play. Relationships Suck!
For tickets visit their website www.loftensemble.org
By Quentin Parker
L.A. Play Review