Published in Gay and Lesbian Times September 5, 2002
In Charles Mee’s boisterous, hilarious world premiere, “Wintertime,” people slam doors, throw themselves against trees, break furniture, scream hateful obscenities — all in the name of love. Excess is everything. Backed by heart-wrenching music (from Massenet to McCartney), the characters careen in and out of love.
Amour has been on Mee’s mind for some time. One part of his acclaimed “Love” trilogy had a glorious UCSD workshop production in 1999. Here, Mee’s work is again made magical by the same highly inventive, imaginative creative team: director Les Waters, designer Annie Smart and choreographer Jean Isaacs. The production is gorgeous, the performances marvelous and uproarious. But beneath all the hilarity, there are messages for all — about relationship and trust, love and life. Each of three couples thinks they’ll have a quiet, snowbound New Year’s at the family summerhome. But everyone shows up at once — the son and his fiancée, the mother and her lover, the father and his boyfriend, the lesbians from next door, a lovesick doctor and a creepy deliveryman.
All the intense, hyperverbal ardor is nearly destroyed by jealousy, suspicion and self-indulgence. It’s a farce of operatic proportion, underscored by arias, wonderfully written, passionately presented, bare-bottomed ending and all. The second act starts preachy and ends silly, but the first act is flawless and the whole is absolutely irresistible. Damaged and damaging though these folks may be, the play ends on a note of hope, backed by the Beatles. The moral, after all: “All You Need Is Love.”
“WINTERTIME” runs through September 15, at the La Jolla Playhouse; 858-550-1010.
©2002 Patté Productions Inc.