Commentary & Opinion
3:45 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

Bob Goepfert - "The Love List" at Lake George Dinner Theater

Sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  That’s the case at Lake George Dinner Theatre where a terrific package of entertainment awaits you.

You might attend a better play than “The Love List” which is playing at the Lake George Dinner Theatre through Oct. 20.  You might also go to a fancy expensive restaurant and have a better meal than is served at the Lake George Holiday Inn Resort that hosts LGDT. 

However, I doubt that you will experience a better combination of food and show.  This is enjoyable theater offered with a good dinner at a price at which would normally pay for the theater or meal alone.

Amongst the better qualities of the organization, now in its 45th season, is it does not program the tired and familiar plays that people associate with dinner theater and it uses professional Equity actors in the production.

“Love List” is a bright comedy that is filled with laughs, yet it gives you just enough insight into human nature so you can think about it after the curtain falls on the show. 

Another hint about the uniqueness of LGDT is there is no inexpensive chicken offered for dinner. The selections are beef, pork, salmon or vegetarian pasta.   All except the vegetarian dish were sampled at my table and all meals were praised.  My pork was prepared with an exceptional country mustard demi-glaze and Prodigal’s Medallions of Beef came with a very good Béarnaise sauce.  Sides and dessert were also satisfactory.

But few people go to dinner theater for the dinner.  A good meal at a fair price is a bonus.  The night succeeds mostly by the work on stage and “The Love List” works as enjoyable theater.

The premise is simple. A divorced man is given the gift of the woman of his dreams by his best friend.  He provides a list of the top 10 qualities he wants in a woman to a gypsy-like dating service and before you can say “leap of faith,” she appears in his apartment eager and willing to make his life happy beyond belief.

The humor in the piece can be summed up by the saying –“Be careful for what you wish, you just might get it.”   Before long, what looks good on paper becomes very difficult to live with.   Plus every time the list is “improved” the situation gets worse. 

As the love list tries to be more perfect, it turns more negative.  Director Terry Rabine understands that in every farcical situation the humor comes from the audience being slightly ahead of the characters.  He wisely builds the comedy and the pace of the show so that the audience is quickly anticipating the problems and laughing at every new attempt to make a bad situation better.

Fortunately he has a cast that does not force the comedy and trusts the situation to be funny.  Though only a three person cast it works as a great ensemble piece. 

Jarel Davidow is Bill, the recipient of the gift.  He defines the nerdish 50 year old as a person you like and wish well. Though the play has some sexual innuendos there is nothing smutty about Bill’s desire to find a perfect mate.

His friend Leon, as played by Bill Saunders, is a bit more lusty and gets a lot of humor out of not being able to figure out his friends decency.  The two actors work exceptionally well together.

Rachel Cordish is a delight as Justine.  She plays the beautiful woman as an almost robotically nice person in the first act.  This sets up her decidedly human behavior in the second act.  It’s a perfect example of an actress building a character both comically and dramatically.

That defines “The Love List” at Lake George Dinner Theatre.  It is a fun comedy with enough drama to make it more than a shallow entertainment.  In other words it’s a near-perfect night of entertainment.

“The Love List,” at Lake George Dinner Theatre, at the Holiday Inn Resort, 2223 Canada Street, Lake George through Oct. 20.  6:30 p.m. Wed.-Sat., 11 a.m. Tues, Wed., Thurs.  Tickets show and dinner $60, show only $35. Ticketing information can be found at 668-5762, ext. 411.

Bob Goepfert is the arts editor for the Troy Record.

The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors, and do not reflect the views of this station or its management.

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