“Lovers and Other Strangers” Theater Review

"Lovers and Other Strangers." Clockwise from top left- Haile d'Alan, Jade Ramirez Warner, Michael Barker, Nancy Vivar.

A theater review of Jamaica Moon Productions’ and GGC Players’ “Lover and Other Strangers.” Written by Renee Taylor and Joseph Bologna. Directed by Gloria Gifford. Produced by Leana Chavez, Chad Doreck, Jade Ramirez Warner.

“Lovers and Other Strangers,” the latest from the wonderful GGC Players, is a hilarious flashback to the late 70s sexual revolution. 

It’s a group of short one acts,  from the celebrated playwrights and husband-and-wife team of Renee Taylor and the late Joseph Bologna.  The original collection debuted on Broadway in 1968 and was so successful that it was turned into a hit movie starring Diane Keaton, Gig Young, Richard Castellano and Bea Arthur.

This production, by the queen of retro, Gloria Gifford, and her brilliant company of actors is an absolute hoot, to coin a vintage phrase.  

With her usual aplomb, Ms Gifford has constructed a really cleverly crafted online experience, together with shared sets, magical interaction, staging and direction sympathetic to the genre of zoomesque theatre.

The wide variety of shorts range in focus, setting and situation, but all revolve around love, or rather what we expect from it.  

Will it sustain us, will it change us, will it protect us, will it make us happy or complete, do we ask too much of it?

The cast revolves throughout the run, which I love as it gives such differing perspective of every role and just shows us how casting is pretty much everything, particularly when themes are so universal as these.

Here’s a very brief breakdown of each play:

A couple goes back to his place, after literally just meeting, roll on 70s! She wants one thing, he wants another, chaotic and revelatory conversations ensue.

A married man and his mistress discuss their relationship in his guest bathroom during his anniversary party with his wife of many years.  You can imagine how manipulative he has to be to end up in that situation.  It’s enlightening!

A married couple argue about sex. She wants more, he needs to sleep.  It devolves into an almost literal battle of the sexes. Male vs female.  Power vs narcissism.  The pressure of expectation

A groom, days before their wedding, visits his bride in the middle of the night to tell her he can’t go through with it.  She very patiently allows his unravelling. Maybe, her understanding of him means more about their chances than we might imagine.

A son visits his parents to tell them he’s getting a divorce because he’s not “happy.”  They explain the rules of marriage, how you can’t expect to be happy just because you are married…

It’s a great show, funny, insightful, delightfully of its time, but not too far from all our fears and experiences now too.  Every actor gives it their all, which is tough online, but it works brilliantly.  

“Lovers and Other Strangers” is live, so every performance will be its own individual event.

It’s running for another couple of weeks, every Saturday night at 8.30pm.  “Lovers and Other Strangers” is a great way to easy our way back into theatre. Let’s hope the next production by GGC Players will be in the flesh…

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The double-cast ensemble of “Lovers and Other Strangers”:

Amber Dancy, Billy Budinich, Chad Doreck, Chris Jones, Dan White, Danny Siegel, Dominique Vance, Emme Daigle, Haile D’Alan, Jade Ramirez Warner, Joey Marie Urbina, Joshua Lee Farmer, Justine Estrada, Keith Walker, Kelly Musslewhite, Keturah Hamilton, Kevin Rexroat, Michael Barker, Nancy Vivar, Sabrina Won, Sam Mansour, Stella Pecollo, TJ Martinez, Teagan Wilson.