Directed by Theatre Three's founder and artistic director, Jac Alder, the production is marred by technical bloopers, including a major scene change so noisy it drowns out dialogue, plus some egregiously weak casting. One actor playing several small roles looks so stiff and terrified several of us wondered if the real performer had just not shown up and been replaced for opening night by a randomly chosen passerby.

Lawrence, playing the daughter, is too Sandra Dee to pass as a downtrodden 1950s tenement dweller, though she sings well enough. Her best moment has her warbling giddily in a shop as she tries on wedding gowns. (Costumer Michael Robinson, as ever finding new ways to make women look hideous onstage, puts her in one with three tulle doorknobs across her behind.)

As Ralph, young Halloran acts with sincerity but sings just off key enough to make your eyebrows jump involuntarily.

Shannon J. McGrann slips easily into character and some wicked expensive shoes in Bad Dates at Contemporary.
George Wada
Shannon J. McGrann slips easily into character and some wicked expensive shoes in Bad Dates at Contemporary.

Location Info

Map

Contemporary Theatre of Dallas

5601 Sears St.
Dallas, TX 75206

Category: Theaters

Region: East Dallas & Lakewood

Theatre Three

2800 Routh St., 168
Dallas, TX 75201

Category: Theaters

Region: Uptown & Oak Lawn

Details

Bad Dates continues through November 13 at Contemporary Theatre of Dallas. Call 214-828-0094. A Catered Affair continues through November 12 at Theatre Three. Call 214-871-3300.

Franks and Soldo, however, give fine, focused performances as the parents, saving A Catered Affair from total disappointment. He's a musical theater star who can carry off an everyman character without turning him into one of The Honeymooners. Soldo, hurting for good roles in recent years, gets a starring part that at last lets her sing and act up a storm. As Aggie, she's part Mama Rose, part Edith Bunker, a long-suffering wife and mother who finally finds her voice and stands up to her husband. Here she is, boys. Here she is, world. The apron's off and the lady's got a lot to sing about.

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