The key to happiness, as rendered in Daniel Janoff’s romantic comedy (in a world premiere from Collaboraction), requires a belief in the unbelievable. Or rather, a belief in the suspension of disbelief. Sure, why not. A play this likable can get away with a lot, even an overarching message tie-dyed with clichés. Like, say, romantic love that arrives on your doorstep like the package you never ordered.
Meet Sunshine (a terrific Wendi Weber, wearing a look of outraged panic), a serial debunker who attaches little meaning to the sweet fictions of life. She returns to her childhood home where she intends to dig up the truth about a man who once claimed superhero status after saving a woman stranded in a car. There is a mystery to be uncovered, and Sunshine’s no-nonsense bitchiness (the irony of her name is less bothersome than it sounds) stands in contrast to the townies she encounters—specifically the laidback charms of Rhett (Peter DeFaria, using a half smile to his best advantage), who impressively procures some beers by calling out to a passing car: “Set me up with a couple!” He’s that guy.
They flirt, unevenly and awkwardly, and gradually it progresses once Sunshine gets a makeover—literally—and tosses off her wet blanket once and for all. (Tracy Otwell’s pivoting set, a beauty salon that transforms into a bar, is the most ambitious design I’ve seen squeezed into the Theatre Building.) The show might not have anything new to say (or a new way to say it), but director Anthony Moseley’s easygoing vibe is enormous fun and it hearkens back to Collaboraction’s first major hit in 2001, “The Life and Times of Tulsa Lovechild.” (Nina Metz)
At the Theatre Building, 1225 W. Belmont, (773)327-5252 or www.collaboraction.org. Wed-Sat 7:30p, Sun 3p. $18-$25. Through Sep. 21.