Eva Knott 7:12 p.m., May 20
Barb feels possession-heavy. When she hears that Buddhist monks in Thailand have only eight possessions total, she decides to prune hers (but does a pair of shoes count as one or two?). Her husband Bob's a model consumer. He replaces her discards with new items, even a car.
Other residents of Twig Beach, Rhode Island, are also in disconnect. Carla Carla and Donna contemplate marriage. But Carla Carla won't until Donna quits smoking. Given Donna's addiction - almost every exhale's a fogbank - ain't gonna happen.
Nick confuses being in love with having a crush. So he swarms potential mates and scares them off. Then he goes to an aquarium and really falls in love - with a Mako shark.
On paper, Adam Bock's comedy shows spunk. It combines (mostly generic) relationship troubles with an Edward Albee-esque intervention (the fish even leaves the shallows and becomes a "land shark" who can dance up a storm). But the episodic series of "how to" skits - to quit smoking, to chose a wedding ring - can't make up its mind whether to be cool, crazy, or plain old cute.
Carla Nell and InnerMission Productions usually feast on this kind of material. But a quandry runs through the staging: cartoon the characters and push the humor, or make them human beings and throw away the comedy?
Like the play, the production never finds a style that works. The actors underplay many scenes. The soft-spoken tone subdues life and potential laughter.
At the wedding (never in doubt, amid much ado), the cast leaves its labored duties and finally has obvious fun. Like musical chairs, when songs change, the actors morph as well.