Love is Dead: A NecRomantic Musical Comedy
nytheatre.com review by Roger Nasser
August 9, 2008
There have been many musicals written about darker and undesirable topics and some of these musicals have been very successful. Love is Dead: A NecRomantic Musical Comedy presented by The Annoyance Theater would surely fit into that category.
The play takes place in a small town with a sheriff and a deputy (Sheriff Harvey and Deputy Don). The story of the show revolves around Orin, a mortician who has a sixth sense and really loves his work. Orin is a necrophiliac and is involved with his current cadaver, Jane Doe. When another dead body is found, this time male, Orin asks him if he remembers who had killed him but he doesn't. We learn he is a surfer type named TK Nichols. When TK's girlfriend Julie comes to identify the body, there is a slight flirtation between Julie and Orin.
Sheriff Harvey informs Orin that now the murders are being classified as serial killings. In order to spend more time with Jane Doe, Orin convinces Sheriff Harvey to allow him to bring her body home so he can work on her more. More hijinx ensue until we learn that a geneticist, Dana Strand, is being brought in to do more extensive work on the bodies to find marks the killer may have left—or blood, saliva, hairs, or sperm. Orin then realizes that he has to do some work of his own to get rid of some evidence that would lead to him while keeping his dark secret. During all of this Orin falls in love with Julie—his first live love!
Love is Dead is a very funny show. The script is very smart and witty and the songs follow suit. There are many, many moments that are laugh-out-loud funny. James Asmus and Andrew Hobgood have done a great job with book and lyrics, creating a world full of very rich and hysterical characters. I hope that they continue to work together and bring forth more clever original works. The musical composition and direction are both by Julie Nichols. Nichols does a great job supplying appropriate music for the sometimes poignant, always funny lyrics.
The cast is full of strong comedians and improvisers. There were moments that were a bit pitchy, but on the whole they do a stellar job. Asmus is very endearing as necrophiliac mortician Orin. Thea Lux is also quite charmingly quirky as the somewhat anxious Julie Beck. Lyndsay Hailey brings a lot of energy and life to the dead Jane Doe and it seemed that she got better and better as the show progressed. Mort Burke made me laugh every time he spoke and sang as TK Nichols. Megan Johns brings up the right amount of yearning and seduction to Dana Strand, the geneticist who begins to fall for Orin. Dan Jessup and Forest Hynes make a great comic pair as the sheriff and deputy, respectively. Hobgood does an excellent job as director—the action of the play moved well and it was very well staged .
If necrophiliacs ever needed a feel-good musical then they should definitely see Love is Dead. And even if you don't partake in necrophilia, you'll enjoy it too!