By Don Church & Tony Schillaci, Critics On The Aisle™
It’s not often that you belly laugh out loud all the way though a comedy without feeling that maybe you’ve gone stark raving mad, but when everyone else in a sold-out theater is doing the same, you’re not crazy, you’re seeing theatrical history.
“I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti” is the perfect recipe to fill theaters around the world forever, for its humor is based in truth, the source of all great comedy. And from start to finish this show is one of the most hilarious comedies we’ve seen in decades.
Rising young playwright Jacques Lamarre has courageously gone way outside the proverbial box, seriously risking his growing reputation, to give audiences a highly original play structure that is skillfully adapted from Giulia Melucci’s best selling memoir of the same name. Rob Ruggiero’s flawless direction, partnered with his renown as a great storyteller, is so stealthy that the two hours seem more like a real-life in the kitchen visit with Giulia, as if she were speaking spontaneously to each person in the audience. The novel and the play’s plot are about good food and bad boyfriends.
Giulia (Antoinette LaVecchia) is a single New Yorker who really knows how to deliver in the one room
where it counts-the kitchen. Publishing pro by day and domestic diva by night, she knows how to whip up mouth-watering Italian cuisine. Unfortunately, her prowess with pasta is not matched by her taste in men, who all seem to eat and run. Can she find Mr. Right or will she end up getting in a permanent stew? This saucy new comedy will feature live cooking onstage and leave you hungry for love!
The dazzling and gifted actor Antoinette LaVecchia actually cooks and makes spaghetti from scratch on stage as well as preparing an appetizer and salad, and serving it to theatergoers at five café tables in the front of the stage. All the while, she never breaks character as she gives a perfectly paced, rare and difficult direct-address performance through two acts in two hours. We would have been rolling in the aisles if the house hadn’t been packed to the rafters for this comedy phenomenon. This is not hyperbole and we were cold-stone sober! The laughs were generated through the collaboration of four bright young things: a best-selling author, an imaginative playwright, a firs-rank award-winning director, and a consummate charismatic actress.
The production’s design team includes John Coyne’s beautiful set creating the feeling of a small New York apartment with two luminous black and white murals of the city’s dramatic skyscrapers and vast bridges while providing ample space for ‘Giulia’ to easily step down from her kitchen to serve wine and spaghetti to the front row tables.
John Lasiter’s well-designed lighting bathed the cucina Italiana in a brightness enabling each strand of spaghetti to be seen. Sasha Wahl’s sound design was clear and well modulated allowing every delightful word of Giulia’s monologue to be easily heard.
We highly recommend this great new American comedy for everyone who is of age to legally sip a glass of home-made Chianti.
If you go….WHAT &WHEN
“I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti”
By popular demand: runs through
Saturday July 14, 2012
TheaterWorks at City Arts on Pearl
233 Pearl Street, Hartford, Conn.
$17 & $50. $76 for limited table seating, including wine and food