Fringe review: Mable And Able

Musical about the on-again, off-again romance between two middle-aged characters is well-intentioned but deeply flawed

MABLE AND ABLE by Labe Kagan and Asher Ettinger (Loqui Productions). Factory Studio. July 9 at 1:15 pm, July 11 at 7:45 pm, July 12 at 5:30 pm, July 13 at 2 pm, July 14 at 11:30 pm. See listing. Rating: NN

It’s good to see a musical that celebrates the love of a middle-aged couple for a change, but Mable And Able is too flawed as a work and as a production to recommend. From a technical point of view, the actors either need to learn to project or need to have mics if they wish to be heard clearly over the electric piano accompaniment.

The musical sketchily charts the on-again/off-again romance of Mable (Michelle Spring) and Able (Michael Whitebread), who are not married but living together. They break up over an argument about money. Two scenes later they are, for unknown reasons, together again. The plot seems to derive from the whims of book writer Labe Kagen rather than arise from the interaction of the characters. In one scene when their Florida condo is under threat from Hurricane Irma, Kagen, without irony, decides to have Mable chew out Able for being messy.

Asher Ettinger’s jaunty music is inspired by popular songs from the 1930s to 50s, and Kagan’s June-moon rhymes helps cast a mustiness over the show. The characters can be summed up in single words – Mable is bossy, Able is a chump – but Spring and Whitebread do nothing to make them more detailed or interesting.

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