a dog story over at The Loft at the Davenport Theater is well acted and sung. This simplistic show about a man who needs a girl to get ahead, but can’t communicate enough to even gets a date takes what could have been cliche and rolls that over to charming.
The plot follows Roland (David Perlman), an attorney who has been passed over for partner, as his married underlings are promoted. There is a partnership coming up and Roland is determined to get a wife and be made partner in “Married Over Labor Day.” Just one catch Roland has no idea how to talk to women, especially the one he has seen and covets and has not noticed him. Enter his best friend Guy (Brian Ray Norris) who states “Get a Dog,” thus beginning the journey between what is important and what is not. Roland through adopting Cupid learns the girl’s name is Blair (Stefanie Brown) when Cupid bites her. In order to impress Blair he hires dog trainer extraordinaire Miranda (Lindsie VanWinkle). From the moment Roland and Miranda meet there is a chemistry, a spark. Miranda is no nonsense and Blair is sexual and a tigress clawing for what she wants out of life. In the end the dog, dictates the ending and our hearts and the best part of this is he is invisible, seen only through the interactions of the players involved.
The scores by Gayla D. Morgan (music and lyrics) gives each character a moment to shine. In “Let’s Make Some Noise,” Roland finds out just what Blair is about. In “Vacation/Training Tango,” we see the beginning of Miranda’s and Roland’s attraction. In “Freedom a la Guy” we see into what drives Guy. And in “Please Come Home,” we see how pets weave their way into our hearts, even the most closed off.
Eric H. Weinberger’s book, is trite, cliché and predictable, but manages to salvage heart.
David Perlman, as Roland has just the right amount of naivety, neediness and lost puppy about him that he is Cupid in human form. As Guy, Brian Ray Norris, is the dog who is over sexed and humping everybody’s leg, yet would be the first to rescue you. He is like a Saint Bernard. As Blair, Stefanie Brown is out of his league and even when Roland gets the chance he is terrified he will be eaten alive. It is Lindsie VanWinkle, as Miranda who walks away with this show. She is real, honest, layered and is the girl who is so hurt pushes people away to ward off the possible rejection. We completely feel for her.
This is a treat of a show for the whole family.
a dog story: The Loft at the Davenport Theater, 345 West 45th St.