Wedlocked

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“Wedlocked,” the two-person musical comedy by Marvin Payne and Steven Kapp Perry, just had a major staging at the SCERA Showhouse two months ago, and now it’s running at the Little London Dinner Theater.

It’s the same cast (Payne and his wife, Laurie) and same director (Alisha Christiansen); it’s even the same set.

As far as I can tell, it’s also the exact same show. If any dialogue has been changed or omitted, it’s not noticeable to someone who just saw it and took notes on it in January.

So I hope you’ll pardon me for quoting my previous review extensively in this one.

The Paynes, who between them have enough charm and stage presence to fill an entire cast, play Val and Elizabeth Utley, a Seattle couple best described as “typical.” Elizabeth, through whose eyes most of the story is told, is a harried and overworked housewife who feels ignored by her husband, who, despite being an accountant, mainly wants to have fun and avoid serious issues.

In an attempt to “start over,” Elizabeth drags Val back to Salina, Utah, where they spent their honeymoon. Val, being impossibly thick-headed — the show was written by men; is this really how we see ourselves? — hasn’t the first clue that Elizabeth is trying to put the spark back in their marriage, or that sparks are even missing. Eventually, everything comes to a head, and the problems are dealt with.

It’s a slight, innocuous storyline, and no major “secrets of a successful marriage” are revealed. Accordingly, the show is shorter than average, though a few minutes could still be shaved off here and there, particularly in the long sequence where Val tries to watch a video while Elizabeth tries to be romantic.

(Having seen the show twice now, I’m catching more of how the video — a fictitious romance set in the ’40s — is supposed to parallel Val and Elizabeth’s situation. The parallels are not very clear, though, nor are they particularly meaningful. I still say a good portion of that could either be cut, or re-written to be more poignant.)

The humor is gentle, occasionally barbed, often sitcom-ish (Elizabeth tells Val: “In your physiology, DNA stands for ‘Doesn’t Notice Anything’!”). Act II has one terrific scene, in which the two finally lay all the cards on the table and talk things out. This scene has improved quite a bit since the SCERA production, with the Paynes really finding some chemistry together as a couple at odds with each other.

Add a few more layers to Val’s rather one-dimensional character, and Perry and Payne will have a musical worthy of greater attention. As it stands, it pleases the audience, cordially doing its thing and politely allowing you to move on. You may be largely unaffected by the proceedings, but you leave with a smile on your face, anyway.

The Little London Dinner Theater has excellent food. Their dinner rolls are especially good. I consider myself a connoisseur of fine breads, and these are fantastic. Once I ate nine of them over the course of dinner and the show. I felt like such a pig, and my date surely thought I was one, but I didn't care. Man, those things are good.

The plays they do are also often very good, though if I had to choose between seeing "Wedlocked" again and eating a thousand rolls, I'd take the rolls.

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