The Column Online


MBS Productions

Director - Mark-Brian Sonna

Stage Manager - Octavia Thomas
Costumes - Larry E. Groseclose
Lighting & Set - Alejandro de la Costa
Sound Design - Octavia Thomas
Cake provided by - MMM?Cake!
Box Office Manager - Kim Wickware



Kelly- Jamie Cooper
Jeanne - Charli Armstrong


Lois - Charli Armstrong
Ronald - Jamie Cooper

Reviewed Performance: 2/10/2011

Reviewed by Carol Anne Gordon, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

As I sit writing this review, the TV is full of commercials telling me "He went to Jareds", "Every kiss begins with K", and "You shouldn't take Cialis if you are also taking nitrates for chest pain". Valentine's Day must be just around the corner.

"S*x and War", two one-act comedies about love, is a perfect combination of gift and night on the town for your Valentine. Flowers and candy have been done to death already - you'll spend less on tickets to this show than for those things - and the comic memories will last after the flowers have wilted and the candy has been eaten.

Each of the plays starts out predictably, and then takes a twist that surprises and delights. The first one, "S*x: What's in a name" begins with a couple meeting "accidentally" on a park bench, while each is waiting to meet a complete stranger. You know what's coming - you think - but you're wrong. And what does come is not only unexpected, but delicious.

"War: All's fair" embarks on the familiar territory of the age old debate between the s*xes. Is Valentine's Day the annual chance for a man to prove his true feelings for a woman (the female perspective), or a made-up Hallmark holiday that a man shouldn't succumb to (the male point of view)?

Alejandro de la Costa makes wise choices by keeping the lighting and set simple, especially in the first play ? the entire set consists of a park bench and a newspaper. The costumes, by Larry E. Groseclose, are appropriate to the two different plays, and not distracting to the comedy, even during the demanding slapstick bits.

Both plays are performed by the same two actors, Jamie Cooper and Charli Armstrong, who have an easygoing chemistry between them. Their timing ? which is essential to good comedy ? is spot on. This is especially necessary in the second play, where various sugary treats are used as weapons. (Speaking of treats ? if you stay after the play to meet the actors, you'll also get a slice of the delicious cake, which even gets a credit in the program!).

Kudos to both actors for dealing with a malfunctioning prop as if it had performed correctly. The bits of physical comedy that accompany it still worked, because we were rooting for them to keep us suspending our disbelief. Director Mark-Brian Sonna has picked a professional cast that I hope to see work together again.

Here in Dallas, we're all happy to have a chance to escape our dreary homes after this long spell of ice and snow that held us captive and this show is a light and funny reason to hit the town. If you still haven't decided on a special way to celebrate Valentine's with your significant other, bring them to this. Not only will you have a good time, but they'll be impressed with your good taste in theatre. Also, the evening shows on February 12th and 14th include chocolate and a rose for every ticket holder ? so that takes care of your flower and candy tradition.

MBS Productions
Stone Cottage in Addison
15650 Addison Road
Addison, TX 75001
Runs through February 19th, 2011

Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 pm
Monday, February 14 at 8:00 pm
Matinees: Saturday, February 12, and Sunday, February 13, at 2:00 pm

NOTE: The 8:00 pm shows on Saturday, February 12 and Monday, February 14, include chocolate and a rose for each patron

Tickets / Reservations / Box Office: 214 477 4942