Wendy Herlich is many things, but “awkward” is not one of them. In her new show An Evening of Awkward Romance currently playing at The Tank Ms. Herlich proves that she is not only a gifted writer with the ability to create short sketches which manage to be sweet, funny and (yes) awkward all at once, but she is also a deft comedic actress who can play any number of roles ranging from whimsical to deadpan with equal results: an audience that finds itself erupting in laughter as one scene after the next plays out.
An Evening of Awkward Romance directed by Ruthie Levy is a series of several scenarios, all which pair Ms. Herlich with Stefan Schick as potential love interests – sometimes of the “was right there all along” variety, sometimes of the “um, am I missing something here?” type. Over and over again the two find themselves in situations where love not so much blossoms as sneaks up, tiptoes, or sometimes even runs away. What’s so charming about these stories – both collectively and individually – is that you’ll find yourself touched by the sweet poignancy of the situations just as often as you’ll find yourself smiling, chuckling or laughing out loud at moments which range from the recognizable to the somewhat absurd.
The pair hits it out of the park with the first scene: two co-workers sit side-by-side proof reading credit card applications all day. They share a love of identifying typos and cringing at mis-aligned spacing which makes them seem perfect for each other. Socially awkward (she more than he) they find easy banter when poking fun at the font her sister used for the wedding invitation (Bernard Condensed) and she swoons as he notes “Even with these silver embossed bells, the font still screams “Halloween Invite” to me …”
Their road to awkward romance ends not so much with an exclamation point but rather with an ellipse; the perfect conclusion to this tale of two proofreaders.
Subsequent stories of romance are well done and live up to the title, aptly showcasing the broad range of both actors. A few vignettes hit the mark perfectly such as the young 11 year olds who are not “boyfriend/girlfriend” but nevertheless have a first date that goes pretty much the way a lot of dates have gone even for adults. Their complete misunderstanding of sex leads the young girl to wonder if she could be pregnant; the answer, provided by her date, of how babies are REALLY made was a moment so funny that it was worth the price of admission. Director Levy did well to allow the actors to channel children rather than ape them; by doing so the actors were charming and believable rather than forced.
A few skits flowed a little less briskly. Two long-married people entertain the idea of bringing romance back into their lives but can’t begin to think how; his notion of hiring a babysitter to take the children OUT so that they can stay IN and watch TV is cute, but the skit as a whole didn’t zing as much as the others. This is more a testament to the high quality of the overall body of work than the deficit of the particular sketch.
Overall An Evening Of Awkward Romance is a delightfully funny, wonderfully written and charmingly executed bit of theatre that left the audience satisfied and still chuckling as they left the building.
~~~An Evening of Awkward Romance Directed by Ruthie Levy Featuring Wendy Herlich and Stefan Schick . Sat, 02/11/2012 – 7:00pm Sun, 02/12/2012 – 7:00pm Sat, 02/18/2012 – 7:00pm Sun, 02/19/2012 – 7:00pm Sat, 02/25/2012 – 7:00pm Sun, 02/26/2012 – 7:00pm $15 . The Tank 151 w. 46th st., 8th Floor New York, NY 10036 United States . Click Here for tickets