By Katie Weitkamp/Managing editor
The six-person cast of “How the Other Half Loves” puts on a completely believable interpretation of three couples tossed together by infidelity. Fiona (Whitney West) and Frank Foster (Carl E. Overly) are an affluent couple. Fiona is a pretentious bitch and plays on Frank’s stupidity. At some points his naivet is cute, but most of the time you can understand why she may look to another man for something other than money.
What is funny about this couple is the reversal of stereotypical roles. Frank seems to be more invested in the relationship than Fiona. Also, Fiona has to take care of Frank, who is easily distracted and easily lied to. West and Overly are excellent at playing a couple that probably shouldn’t be together.
Teresa (Amie E. Dunn) and Bob Phillips (David Alan Hobbs, Jr.) are the Foster’s polar opposite. They fight constantly, blaming a lot of their problems on their never-seen child, Benjamin, when there are obviously other reasons for their spats. The couple is hilarious, especially as the fights escalate. Hobbs makes Bob into a shady, slimy character no one wants to like. Dunn plays a strong woman who puts up with more than she should.
The third couple, William (Aaron Bentley) and Mary Detweiler (Melanie Dawn Hall), are by far the squarest couple in the lot. They are dragged into the story while Bob looks for an excuse to satisfy his wife’s probing as to why he came in so late and drunk one night.
When Bob is accused of having an affair with Mary, very few in the play actually believe it happens, and with good reason. Hall does an excellent job of portraying an easily manipulated, naive woman.
The couples are tied together through the men and their work; Frank is Bob and William’s boss. All of the couples are acquainted; however, some are more acquainted than others.
The play is executed well, though it could be confusing. On one stage you see two different living rooms that cross boundaries. At first it looks very complicated and you expect couples to share furniture, but they don’t, and it makes sense visually only when you see the characters act.
One scene done very well is when the Detweilers eat at the Fosters’ and Phillips’ on different nights, but the dinners and scenes are presented simultaneously. The dining tables are set up together and the Detweilers are seated so they can turn 90 degrees and be seated at a different table.
One of the funniest scenes involves Bob and Mary. When Mary goes to the Phillips’ the morning after a dinner gone wrong, she ends being bullied around by Bob. Eventually he comes out on stage in makeshift superhero attire for no real reason, but he also doesn’t seem to be a really reasonable guy.
“How the Other Half Loves” opened at 8 p.m. Wednesday night and runs through Sunday in the Gifford Theater in the Campbell Building. Student tickets are $5 for students, $6 for adults. Call 622-1323 for tickets.
I give “How the Other Half Loves” four out of five palettes for making a complicated comedy easy to watch.
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