The joys and perils of married life are examined with unapologetic cheesiness and simplicity in Provo Theatre Company’s charming production of “I Do! I Do!”
It’s a small, intimate musical, with only two characters: Michael (Mark Gollaher) and Agnes (Emmelyn Thayer). We see their lives from the time they are married, through child-rearing, through pain and sorrow, up until they finally sell the house they’ve lived in the whole time and move to an apartment for old people.
Everything is light and fluffy for quite a while, with the characters singing songs like “I Love My Wife” and “Together Forever” (not the Mormon pop version). The lyrics tend toward the unsophisticated: “I love my wife, how will it end?/I love her as my lover, not just as a friend.”
Thayer’s voice is stronger than her co-star’s, though Gollaher manages well enough.
Then things get ugly. Michael, now wealthy from being the author of bad romance novels, has had an affair. Agnes eventually forgives him, after he expresses true remorse.
Several years later, Agnes announces she no longer loves Michael. This problem is solved, apparently, by his doing something thoughtful for her. (Being single, I do not pretend to understand the complex inner workings of married life. I do, however, think that my love for someone would not be rekindled by receiving a present. I am willing to be wrong on that point, though.)
The two best numbers come back-to-back. First, Michael sings “It’s a Well Known Fact,” filling Agnes in on the details of how men get more charming as they age, whereas women fall apart. She leaves the room, and he dances around smoothly with a dresser’s dummy, showing that Gollaher has some dancing skill and that Michael is absolutely full of himself.
Immediately following that is “Flaming Agnes.” Here Agnes decides that she, too, can go out and party like her husband does, and she dances around the bedroom fantasizing about it. Agnes stumbles about awkwardly, trying to convince herself that she can be as sexy and “with it” as her husband … and it’s at once manically funny and heartbreaking. Thayer plays Agnes as consistently sweet and wonderful — what man in his right mind would cheat on her?
It is her considerable winsomeness that carries the show, right up to the end, when she and Gollaher must play their same characters, but 40 years later. (Both play the age exceptionally well, by the way.)
“I Do! I Do!” feels a little too long, as the cute concept gets old after a while, and married people will no doubt enjoy it more than unmarrieds. Still, it’s harmlessly entertaining and occasionally downright lovely.
I don't like shows with exclamation marks in their titles, and this one has two.
Anyway, the play was cute. I can't think of a better word for it. Just really, really cute. All the married people in the audience loved it. The rest of us thought it was cute.