Review: Echo Location

Echo Location; 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday; $23-$35. B Street Theatre, 2711 B Street; (916) 443-5300; Through February 28
Rated 3.0

It’s another world premiere for the B Street Theatre. This time it’s St. Louis playwright Carter W. Lewis’s Echo Location, a one-act, 90-minute comedy with dark overtones directed by Buck Busfield.

The play revolves around Benjamin Rindell, an English professor, his African-American fiancée Emmy (Mary Lynne Robinson), the unexpected arrival of Allison, a 15-year-old daughter he never knew he had (Sarah Grodsky), and Emmy’s former boyfriend, Bluetooth Atkinson (Oge Agulue), trying to get his woman back.

There are problems with this play, starting with the lack of back story. (How did Emmy and Benjamin fall in love so quickly that they are going to be married before she has even moved her stuff out of Bluetooth’s home?) I also had difficulty with what seems to be an excessively brutal end to the show.

In between there, however, is a growing, if grudging, affection for Allison (the sweetest moment in the show), a final ending of the relationship between Emmy and Bluetooth, resolution of the angst that has been eating away at Benjamin for weeks, and a happy, if bloody, ever after.

It may not be the “hilarious” show that’s been advertised, but thanks to the fine performances of the four actors, it’s decidedly enjoyable—and the set by Sam Reno is gorgeous.