CJC In the days back when each new issue of The Ladies’ Home Journal asked the question “Can this marriage be saved?”, it’s doubtful the editors ever suggested that the husband take a male lover, but this is the solution Arthur M. Jolly may well be proposing in his fast-moving, sexy, and very funny World Premiere comedy A Very Modern Marriage.

The marriage is question is that of Matthew (Donal Thoms-Cappello) and Tina (Deborah Jensen), whose 6th-anniversary dinner out has just been spoiled by the presence of Tina’s gay best friend Christopher (Esteban Andres Cruz), recently dumped by his go-go dancer boyfriend, and by the fact that Tina hadn’t even remembered that today’s date was one to be celebrated.

When Christopher drops by smack dab in the middle of the couple’s post-dinner tiff, things go from bad to worse, particularly when Matthew fails the trust test that Christopher has just passed with flying colors, leading a disillusioned Tina to fly the coop and her GBF to stick around and help pick up the pieces as roommate to the man he’s always had a thing for.

As for Matthew, the abandoned spouse’s repeated Declarations Of Heterosexuality may well be a case of “Doth protest too much,” though far be it from this reviewer to spoil the many surprises playwright Jolly has in store.

A couple of these surprises do strain credibility and logic a tad, something easily remedied by a bit of script tweaking, and A Very Modern Marriage’s 70-minute running time could actually benefit from an extra ten minutes spent developing Matthew and Christopher’s relationship and making for a more thoroughly satisfying ending.

Quibbles aside, Jolly’s talent is undeniable, and under co-producer Scott Marden’s brisk direction, the production’s three stars do fabulous work, an ebullient Cruz in particular.

Costumes by co-producer Lyman and lighting by Megan Frances are fine for Fringe, as is Amanda M. Patt’s scenic design (though a few posters on the wall would give the production a more polished look). J Anthony McCarthy gets top marks for his fight choreography.

Expect to hear more from Jolly’s crowd-pleasing A Very Modern Marriage post-Hollywood Fringe.


–Steven Stanley
June 27, 2015