Posted in drama, family drama, theater

Love is a many-splendored and oft-confusing thing

Love forces us to make leaps of trust and engages us in uncertainties of the heart. It is blind in so many ways, and all-knowing in so many others.

Mamoudou Athie as Jonny with Gayle Rankin as Charlotte in a scene from Bathsheba Doran's "The Mystery of Love & Sex." Photo © I. Charles Erickson
Mamoudou Athie as Jonny with Gayle Rankin as Charlotte in a scene from Bathsheba Doran’s “The Mystery of Love & Sex.” Photo © I. Charles Erickson

In Bathsheba Doran’s new drama, The Mystery of Love & Sex, at Lincoln Center’s Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater through April 26th, love trumps all.

Jonny (Mamoudou Athie) has loved Charlotte (Gayle Rankin) since they were kids of nine. His love is not unrequited; it is returned. Charlotte’s parents, Howard (Tony Shalhoub) and Lucinda (Diane Lane) have mixed feelings about their daughter’s relationship. Do they really have any cause for concern?

Doran’s “Kin” which premiered at Playwrights Horizons in 20111 also focused on relationships that were not entirely what they seem. (Reviewed at http://www.vevlynspen.com/2011/04/in-kin-enduring-relationship-problems.html)

Diane Lane as Lucinda and Gayle Rankin as Charlotte share a moment.  Photo © I. Charles Erickson
Diane Lane as Lucinda and Gayle Rankin as Charlotte share a moment. Photo © I. Charles Erickson

Jonny and Charlotte’s love has its ups and downs, too, but unlike the earlier work, The Mystery of Love & Sex is more tautly written and more concise in its conclusions. Like “Kin,” The Mystery of Love & Sex is full of surprises.

Mamoudou Athie as Jonny with Tony Shalhoub as Howard in a scene from "The Mystery of Love & Sex."  Photo © I. Charles Erickson
Mamoudou Athie as Jonny with Tony Shalhoub as Howard in a scene from “The Mystery of Love & Sex.” Photo © I. Charles Erickson

In this cast, Diane Lane’s ascerbic drawling mom is a standout but the ensemble are universally excellent. The drama is so engrossing that one feels like staying all day with them. Rounding out the cast is Bernie Passeltiner as Howard’s father.

Sam Gold’s deft direction makes the time spent with Howard, Lucinda, Gayle and Jonny fly.

Like love itself, Bathsheba Doran’s The Mystery of Love & Sex is unexpected and very welcome.

 

To learn more about The Mystery of Love & Sex, please visit lct.org.

 

Author:

For an opinionated woman such as I, blogging is an excellent outlet. This is one of many fori that I use to bloviate. Enjoy! Comment on my commentary.

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