During his curtain speech at Friday’s opening night of “Love Accurately,” presented by Defiance Comedy at IndyFringe Basile Theatre, the show’s writer and director, Matt Kramer, made it clear that there was little similarity between his show and the 2003 Christmas-themed romantic comedy film, “Love Actually.” As you can probably guess by the title, Kramer’s and producer Molly North’s take on romance is a bit more cynical than what some think is either the best Christmas movie ever or the most sappy. And you would be right.
The members of the likeable cast included Ryan Ruckman, Kelsey VanVoorst, Meg McLane, Miranda Nehrig, Zachariah Stonecreek, and Dave Pelsue. All but one of the cabin guests are longtime friends who gather yearly at a cabin during the Christmas holiday, over a span of years, some of which are included in the play’s chronology. Of the group, one is a couple who has remained married for some time and the others have gone in and our of relationships with one another at different points in the story.
The show’s makeshift set which depicts the the living room of a cabin , complete with glowing fireplace, is make-shift but does the job of transporting one to a rustic hideaway in the woods. Included is a the obligatory bar. It is especially important to these character. They require liquid courage because they spend a lot of time drinking alcohol iin order to express their innermost thought to each other as they argue, insult, berate and have sex with each other throughout the play. But like longtime friends, their is also lot of affectionate between them so they also joke and tease one another.
There is some pathos in the play but it’s mostly funny jokes and one liners, all penned by Kramer who writes very smart dialogue, for which he has a really good ear, as well as hilarious situation comedy in general.
The cast itself is very strong, with each exhibiting both solid acting and comedic chops. Based on the talent exhibited by each, they all have the potential to go far in a career in comedy.
In terms of criticism, the shows first act startrf to drag and loses steam after a time and and the second act ended far too abruptly. However, these are flaws, that careful editing couldn’t fix. Also, there was an overabundance of foul language, which I have no issue with other than the fact that its surplus compromised an otherwise well fashioned script. I much prefer clever and witty words and phrases rather ones that are thrown in for comic effect or shock value. After awhile, the course language, like in real life, just sounded sophomoric, if not juvenile and proceeded to ultimately just became an annoying distraction.
Still, Kramer and Defiance remains one of my favorite local comedy groups. I highly recommend it as a great activity to enjoy on a date night or with a group of friends. It speaks to a lot of universals truths about the joys and perils of relationships and themes that we can all relate to.
The remaining shows for “Love Accurately,” which start at 8 p.m., are Friday Dec. 9, Saturday Dec. 10, Friday Dec. 16 and Saturday Dec. 17. For tickets and information call (317) 522-8099 or visit www.indyfringe.org.