Monday, February 05, 2018

Huntington Theatre Company Presents "Bad Dates" by Theresa Rebeck- Irresistible and Near Perfect - Through February 25th

If you could use a thoroughly delightful evening at the theater, head to Huntington Theatre between now and February 25th for the delicious comedy "Bad Dates" by Theresa Rebeck and featuring the incredibly talented Haneefah Wood. Ms. Wood is familiar to Boston audiences. She won an IRNE Award for her performance in the Huntington's production of "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike." This play will help you forget all about the Patriots loss in the Super Bowl, Red Line delays, slushy streets, and six more weeks of winter.

The plot is simple. In this one woman play, Haley Walker talks directly to the audience about her struggles trying to keep things together as the divorced mother of a teenage daughter. Haley has a shoe fetish that would make Imelda Marcos blush, and she spends considerable time, while talking about her life, trying on different pairs of shoes, and a dizzying array of ensembles before she finds just the right ensemble to launch her back into the world of "going on a date." She also spends an inordinate amount of time, also while soliloquizing to the audience, moisturizing most of the limbs of her body. By the time she is ready to met Mr. Right, she has the audience eating out of her supple and moist hand.

Haneefah Wood as Haley Walker
"Bad Dates" by Theresa Rebeck
Directed by Jessica Stone
Huntington Theatre Company
Through February 25th
Photo by T. Charles Ericson

To say that Ms. Wood is a master raconteuse would be an understatement. She punctuates her vignettes with facial expressions, tilts of her head, and looks in her eyes that draw the audience into her world, and make us sit on the edge of our seats wondering what is coming next. She patrols her bedroom, uncovering shoes, dresses, tops, pants, wrap-around skirts, sexy lingerie, and other treasures. The set by Alexander Dodge is a magnificent recreation of a Manhattan apartment, with surprises in store each time Haley opens of closes a closet door. Sarah Laux has provided Haley Walker with enough clothing and foot wear to dress a small Army. Lighting by David J. Weiner and Sound by Drew Levy complete the New York City ambiance.

The title of this play tells you that the dates did not go well. But the telling of these three disastrous meet-ups is both comical and poignant. This is not a mere puff piece, for the playwright injects some serious philosophical musings. Director Jessica Stone has Ms.Wood using every inch of the stage, and perfect comedic timing, to accentuate and animate the story telling.

I will leave the plot twists for you to discover. Expect to hear about the Romanian Mafia, a Buddhist fundraising event in the Hamptons, an "organ recital" by a hypochondriacal date, a closeted gay man who allows his mother to set him up on a blind date with Haley, the reappearance of an old flame, a meal at a fancy restaurant in Queens - Queens!! - and a dust-up with the law. Through it all, Haley is resilient, and Ms. Wood is magnificent in making us care about this quirky and unforgettable woman.

Haneefah Wood as Haley Walker
"Bad Dates" by Theresa Rebeck
Directed by Jessica Stone
Huntington Theatre Company
Through February 25th
Photo by T. Charles Ericson

You would be hard pressed to find a more more entertaining evening at the theater than a performance of "Bad Dates," Through February 25th.

Bring a date!

Enjoy!

Al

Huntington Theatre Website

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