The Loneliest Number
By Andrew Andrews
Pro tip: when your relationship is a mess, don’t bring other people into it.
That’s the lesson behind Lizzie Vieh’s play The Loneliest Number, which premiered this week at the Flamboyán Theater (at The Clemente). Starring Maurice Jones as John, the hubby recovering from prostate cancer (who just wants to achieve a “stuffable” erection), and Leigh Williams as the wife who’s dissatisfied with their sex life (or lack thereof) but not quite enough to be comfortable with how they’re handling it, the couple invites a different “third” to join them in the bedroom every month, with the partners taking turns deciding whom the “lucky” person will be.
What surprises them is not only how willing their choices are to participate, but that the experience is nothing new to either Kevin (Justin Yorio), Wendy’s quiet coworker (who doesn’t have a problem with alcohol, just a problem with people), or Arianne (Cassandra Paras), the woman who works the counter where John picks up his dry cleaning. Which is not to say that the whole experience will maintain a casual aura, because let’s face it: although that might be a fine plot for a typical porn video, it wouldn’t quite work for a full-length dramatic play. Instead, it turns out that Kevin has been hiding the fact that he’s been in love with Wendy since they first met at an office party. And Arianne, well... suffice it to say that Wendy reminds Arianne a lot of an ex-girlfriend that she never quite got over.
The monogamous among us will be quick to say “I told you so” when they hear that the lives of these four characters become intertwined in the most unhealthy way, and we have no doubt that playwright Vieh has followed the tried-and-true advice of “write what you know” when it comes to the foundation of this story. But don’t let that fool you into believing that this work is nothing but a cliché—it’s the way in which these lives become intertwined that will defy your expectations. And don’t be surprised, also, when you find yourself becoming wrapped up in the plot and the lives of the very-believable characters that live it.
This is the kind of production where there isn’t a single person or element that makes the performance a success. Rather, this is one of those shows where the combined effect of everyone’s contribution is much greater than the sum of their parts. So check it out before it closes March 10th, then come back here and tell us if the entire company, working together, didn’t have you leaning in, poised to catch what happens next! Whether you’ve been thinking of spicing up your relationship by bringing someone else into the mix, only to be “scared straight” by what happens on this stage, or your own experience counters that it doesn’t have to be that way: your reviews help others decide if they should attend, and your ratings help us help you find future shows you’ll love!3
Andrew Andrews attended The Loneliest Number at Clemente Soto Vélez Center in Manhattan on Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 8:00pm to write this review.
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