A Marriage of Convenience
Plodding pacing and thinly written characters blunt the effectiveness of this political comedy.
Gary Vincent (Todd Reichart) is a successful author who plans to run for the Senate. He's also gay. Advised by his friend and campaign manager Miles McKenzie (Richard Brundage) that he needs a wife to secure the support of Labor leader Patrick Bliss (Bernard Burlew), he arranges a "marriage of convenience" to his lesbian secretary Diane (Tara Gadomski). As it turns out, however, neither of the pair's sexualities are as completely set as they may have thought.
The style of the play indicates that Beim is trying for a kind of Shavian comedy, but it's third-rate Shaw at best. Some of his lines are vaguely amusing, but most of the jokes fall flat due to poor comic timing, a two-dimensionality to the characters, and a tone that feels more soap opera than send-up. There are also a lot of missing connections between the cast members. For example, Gary keeps saying things like "I will not be interrupted," when none of the characters he's interacting with remotely look like they might be about to interrupt him.
Reichart spends the majority of the play with a permanent smirk on his lips. For the audience to have any sympathy for him at all, Gary has to have a charismatic charm, but the actor's interpretation just comes across as smarmy. Gadomski is rather stiff as Diane, and indicates her intentions in too broad a manner. Brundage's Miles is soft-spoken, but somewhat lacking in personality. Burlew is the only one of the performers to effectively convey a hint of fire, but even he sometimes falters. Rounding out the cast is Meghan Ritchie as Bliss's daughter Bridget, who comes to work for Gary and causes a few more complications.