Were it on TV this season, “Lease on Love” wouldn’t make it past the first episode. Lucky for the playwright—though not so lucky for audiences—there are no network executives standing by with a cancellation notice. From the title on down, the show—written by Tony Fiorentino, who also stars—hews to the bad sitcom mold, which is even moldier when rendered in play form. Tom (Fiorentino), recently dumped by his girlfriend and abandoned by his best pal, agrees to sublet the extra room in his Chicago apartment to—gasp!—a woman. She’s a jilted ex herself, and in this plastic universe, there is little doubt that they will soon fall into bed and, of course, in love. Lacking the kind of sly or unexpected rhythms that might elevate this material beyond disposable romantic comedy, the script seems oddly out of step with current sensibilities of the young and single: Would a citified girlfriend really be shocked—shocked!—to learn her boyfriend owns porn? The play does contain one pithy and original line equating drunken sex between the roommates with macaroni and cheese; what you resort to when you’re hungry and there’s nothing else in the house. (The program, though, contains the real gem, a dandy malapropism from Chris Arnold, who opens his director’s note with the observation that “Love is such an allusive word.”) In addition to his writing and acting duties, Fiorentino is the production manager, as well as the artistic director of the presenting company, Diamante Productions—a collection of titles that situate this outing somewhere between vanity project and an elbow grease, let’s-put-on-a-show gambit. There are worse reasons to launch a theater company. But at two-and-a-half hours-plus, this outing tests the limits of patience. Even terrible sitcoms are only twenty-two minutes long. (Nina Metz)
This production is now closed.