This Could Be Love
nytheatre.com review by David Hilder
September 23, 2006
A man and a woman, strangers, sit on barstools, stood up by their respective dates. Finding themselves in the same all-too-familiar boat, and sick of it, they make a pact to fall in love with each other right then and there. After all, they find each other attractive enough, and since there's no counting on fate to make things happen, why not take the relationship bull by the horns? In fact, why not go ahead and get married that very night?
Thus begins the extremely slight 80 minutes of musical comedy called This Could Be Love. The coyly never-named He and She are, respectively, an overcontrolled Type A jingle writer and a somewhat daffy permatemp with a nosy, critical mother. After they've married cute, they find themselves struggling to fill in the gaps, and here the score has its finest moment, a song in which each reveals the very basics mixed with delightful details that become more honest (and therefore disturbing) as the song goes on. (Apologies, but the program I received has a blank page where presumably the song titles would appear.) It's a delightful number, tangy and specific.
Unfortunately, much of the rest of the show is familiar and worn. Brock Simpson's lyrics are relentlessly overworked; yes, the rhymes rhyme, but with a distinct lack of ease, grace, or character. And his songs are nearly all stubbornly tuneless. His book scenes function effectively, though all of this is in service of the oldest story in the book (boy meets, gets, loses and regains girl) told without any real invention or freshness. The evening might well work better in a cabaret setting—the costumes, though witty, are minimal, and the set feels unnecessary.
Of course much of the success of a two-character musical rests with the performers. Graham Rowat is solid as He, and though it would be great to see him delve more deeply into the depth of his character's neuroses, he's a terrific singer. Krista Sutton is adorable and very funny as She. The main problem with the pairing is a lack of chemistry, which is unfortunate though certainly not manufacturable.
This Could Be Love offers a mildly diverting eighty minutes for those who are looking for the theatrical equivalent of comfort food from a favorite diner: Nothing unexpected, only moderately nutritious, and quite safe.