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This Contract Limits Our Liability: Read It!

If playwright Joshua Fardon had typed "Finis" instead of "Act 2," his off-kilter comedy about relationship dry rot could have succeeded as a scathingly funny one-act burlesque. Had director Kiff Scholl been more diligent with his dramaturgical ax, maybe an otherwise capable cast might have been spared the indignity of a pointlessly anticlimactic and laughless second act. Possibly then Fardon might have understood it is character depth — not play length — that sustains comedic narrative. Two couples meet through an ad in the sex classifieds for an evening of mate swapping. However, the empty-headed hosts — malapropism-prone Mark (Jonas Dickson) and accommodating housewife Kathy (Kelsey Wedeen) — get more than they advertise for. Soon they are confronted by cheerfully bizarre swingers Bob (Bill Robens) — a gay, celibate and lapsed Mormon — and his mate, Vivian (Julia Prud'homme), a 39-year-old, perennial virgin. Awkward sex and bitter recrimination grease an already slippery slope, which leaves an alarming body count on the living room rug. The excellent Robens and Prud'homme grab the choicest lines (Fardon is at his best skewering the eco-antiglobal, liberal-lite misanthropy of his self-deluded odd couple), along with the only coherent emotional arcs. The unlucky Dickson and Wedeen are left to wither under cryptically passive, actor-defying caricatures. Tuesdays-Thursdays, 8 p.m. Starts: July 2. Continues through Aug. 7, 2008


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