cappuccino & cirrhosis by Lee William Shakespeare, directed by Patti Cannon, with Shelby Kerr, Richard Archer, Paul McGrath, David B. Fraser, Kristen Weiler, Samuel Turner, Jennifer Robson and Shauna Gravefell. Presented by Northern Lights Theatre Company at the Studio Theatre (235 Queen's Quay West). Runs to March 16, Friday-Saturday 8 pm. $24. 416-973-4000. Rating: NN Rating: NN
it's pretty bad when a piece of scenery upstages the live actors. But in Lee William Shakespeare's Cappuccino & Cirrhosis, a framed Matisse poster exudes more life than the dull characters chatting beneath it.Dubbed "a romantic comedy for women (and men)," the show looks at two sets of characters, a trio of men who compare scores at a sports bar and a trio of women who sip cappuccino at a classy restaurant (that's where the Matisse comes in).
The script offers some insights into the sexes, and there's a nice symmetry to the show -- oh yeah, a nubile waitress serves up beer and advice to the guys, while a gay male waiter helps out the women.
But there's little originality here. Despite his pretentious name, Lee William Shakespeare's dialogue is less Bard than Norm Foster.
The women's scenes aren't as developed as the men's. At times, it seems like the supposedly close female friends haven't met each other before. Shauna Gravefell's real estate agent is especially unsubtle, as glaring as director Patti Cannon's bad lighting design.
There are some highlights. Shelby Kerr's seen-it-all waiter emanates cool, while Paul McGrath's Dave hits his chauvinist notes with aplomb.
And an unintentional chuckle comes from hearing a professor character say about a baseball player, "You should have saw his fastball."
Hope he's not teaching English.