Love Song, by up-and-coming New York author John Kolvenbach, arrives with some buzz. The play premiered in 2006 at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company and went to London. Kolvenbach’s since been commissioned to write several new plays.
Love Song involves Joan, a hard-edged manager (Elisabeth Nunziato) who spars verbally with her skeptical husband, Henry (Kurt Johnson), while slurping down glasses of wine and complaining about idiotic employees.
But underneath, she’s worried about her brother Beane (hunk Jason Kuykendall, with a few days of beard)—a moody, withdrawn soul with a truly minimal lifestyle.
One day, a pretty intruder (Dana Brooke) interrupts Beane’s gloom, a development which, in this sweet/quirky play, leads to love, transforming Beane into a giddy, talkative fireball.
Of course, there’s a catch—though to disclose it would spoil Kolvenbach’s modest attempt at a surprise twist in what’s otherwise a rather stodgy story.
So what’s to recommend? Kolvenbach does have a way with words (though his use of profanity gets tiresome, lacking the zing of the David Mamet play on stage elsewhere in town). Kolvenbach’s scenes make for interesting physical comedy, directed here by Jennifer Freyer and Buck Busfield. It’s a well-acted, modestly entertaining show—the two hours passed quickly enough.
But ultimately, the play’s underwhelming. Kolvenbach’s insights on life and love are routine, and the play breaks little new ground. Love Song goes in one ear, out the other.