Love In The Time Of Chlamydia
nytheatre.com review by Robert Attenweiler
February 25, 2012
While it's named after the Gabriel Garcia Marquez magical-realism novel Love in the Time of Cholera, it’s difficult to find the same obvious magic operating in the world of Nicole Pandolfo’s Love in the Time of Chlamydia. Then it hits you: the magic is that she makes it out “only” having (at one time) contracted Chlamydia. This solo show (written and performed by Pandolfo) about one young woman’s dealings with drinking and drugs and dating and some more drinking probably could have ended much darker.
Instead, all Pandolfo’s vices and miscues in this funny and engaging personal narrative help open her eyes to the root cause of her self-destructive streak: her relationship with her absent father.
Love in the Time of Chlamydia is like Sex and the City if Carrie Bradshaw had been raised on Bon Jovi and Manhattan cocktails, instead of Madonna and Cosmopolitans. There are dating horror stories—mostly hilarious, occasionally honestly horrific—made all the more dangerous by how admittedly out of control Pandolfo portrays herself being. But, slowly, she comes to realize that she needs to love herself first and can’t wait around for a father’s love that will never satisfyingly come.
The play’s director, Jonathan Warman, keeps the energy up and shapes the stories with enough difference to keep them distinct within the overall arc of the narrative. Pandolfo, flanked by liquor bottles that she pinballs between, is a likable performer. She started a little slow, but quickly warmed up and soon was telling her crazy tales with a wide, infectious smile. She never seems to take herself or her stories too seriously—landing on the most scandalous moments with a verbal wink and a soundtrack cue. This keeps the audience firmly on her side, enjoying her wild ride, but also limits how deep Pandolfo’s stories can take us—how resonant her journey can be to an audience.