Put On A Happy Face

Four time Tony Award winning playwright, Terrence McNally, brings you 'Lips Together, Teeth Apart'. An odd tale of two couples spending Fourth of July weekend in Fire Island, at one character's newly inherited beach house. This sounds like an upbeat setting, but in actuality the beach house belonged to a character's recently deceased brother, and is also the setting for a witnessing of another death. The house has lingering painful, depressing memories, which seem to be the grounds for the unveiling of everyone else's painful secrets.

Happy appearances, burdened souls

At first the couples seem happy and 'normal', but soon you begin to see they suffer from insecurities, infidelity, infertility, among other problems that plague their weekend. They all reveal some underlying fears of being invisible, of homosexuality, and of death. There are some uncomfortable scenes of blatant gay and minority bashing (displaying characters ignorance), and near sexual scenes between siblings; guaranteed to stir up some controversy.

I felt the play started out a little rough, with out of place reactions and shaky delivery of lines from certain actors. Rae Ritke and Colin Campbell were delightful from beginning to end, deeply concentrated and truly in character even when they weren't 'on'. David Morgan was weak and I felt that the only emotion he could convey believably was love. Especially in the 2nd act, he really showed a lot of heart. His character was given a few humorous lines as well, but his comedic timing was always a bit off.

Tracy Silver played the intriguing, colorful role of a peppy housewife, who seemed to be on speed. She began a little awkward and over the top, but you fall in love with her quirkiness, and her acting in the end is so touching and real, I think I may have even teared up.  All in all, the acting is good, the writing superb, and the story compelling.

The show runs through May 28, every Friday and Saturday evening at 8PM. Tickets are $15; $12 with student or senior ID. Performances are held at The Secret Rose Theatre, located at, 11246 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 90601 (between Tujunga & Lankershim). There is free limited parking behind the theatre, and easy street parking as well. For reservations call: (818) 569-3030.

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