REVIEW: YOUR BEST ONE at Curious Theatre

by Mona Lott

Going from deviant to socially acceptable seems like it should be much more difficult than the sanitized relationship in Your Best One, now playing at Curious Theatre would have you believe. However, in today’s world of night time dramas, television has found a way to exploit gay relationships while at the same time celebrating them.

Theater has been way ahead of television though, in its embrace of gay themes, characters and stories going way back into the seventies with plays like A Chorus Line and The Boys in The Band. Perhaps this is the social constructs that Meredith Wilson who also writes for televisions Chicago Med was influenced by when she created David and Richard in The Luckiest People and the “stand alone” sequel Your Best One.

Curious Theatre, already known for quality productions and an eagerness to present new works with challenging themes and provocative ideas produced The Luckiest People a year ago and commissioned Wilson to write Your Best One allowing their cast the rare opportunity to help create and revisit the intimacies of these characters.

Your Best One does indeed stand-alone, needing no refresher, though it seems that a previous knowledge of The Luckiest People gives one an advantage in fully appreciating the humor in the show. Thank Thespis for the humor. Without it, Your Best One would turn sappy and melodramatic but with the witty and unexpected humor, Wilson succeeds in creating a show that is intimate, warm and relatable.  

The characters seem a bit stock, a gay couple having troubles in their relationship with an adopted, acerbically funny teenager and the brassy, loud female, (this time a sister) who brings the best out of all of them with her candid bluntness. The familiarity though doesn’t prohibit this cast in the ability of making these characters fully believable and honest. David, played by John Jurcheck is the “cool” Dad, expertly crafted by Jurcheck to present a man struggling in so many ways including cancer but choosing to focus on all the blessings he has instead. His ex-lover, presented by Eric Sandvold, Richard is uptight, hiding behind a façade of calm and relaxed while paddling madly beneath the water. Again, another expert performance crafted with expert skill by Sandvold. Though the performances are not lacking in any way, these characters seemed to be too white washed, blending into a power washed world where no one even flinches at the non-conventual pair, other than raising an eyebrow to the age difference as if the same sex partnership is an ordinary way of life void of any conflict or distress.

It’s this head in the clouds look at a same sex couple that seems way too simplified especially in the characterization of Josh, there teenage son played by Colin Covert. Josh is given some of the best one liners and funniest moments in the play and Covert is polished in his delivery holding his own on stage with his older and much more experienced cast mates. But again, this character seems way too comfortable with his adoptive Dad’s sexual orientation and the introduction to his ex-lover Richard.

Karen Slack as the sister Laura comes out of the gate a bit to bombastic and inflated but soon settles down nicely into a nuanced and honest performance. Rounding out the cast at Curious is Randy Moore who puts in an engaging and enduring performance as Oscar, the father of Richard and Laura.

The play provides conflict through an illness, a death, divorce and child custody fights but again seems to gloss over the difficulties confronting the LGBT communities in everything from health care to religion to even adopting a child. In its poignancy however, Wilson wraps everything up nicely with a few heart tugging moments that appear to spring up just a little too tidy and clean, though satisfyingly entertaining.

Your Best One is ultimately a story of family and here it excels in presenting the intimate knowledge that we each carry of our loved ones that allows us to disappoint and decimate and then forget and forgive when necessity overrides pride. It’s this portrayal of family in all its messiness and dysfunction that relates most and makes this, Your Best One.

Experience all the drama in YOUR BEST ONE at Curious Theatre. Performances are Thursdays through Sundays now until June 6th. For tickets or more information contact the box office by calling 303-623-0524 or online at www.curioustheatre.org. Curious Theatre Company is located at 1080 Acoma Street.

PHOTO CREDIT:  Michael Ensminger

 

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