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The 70% Club Social Hall, Trinity University, 125 Michigan Avenue NE (Note: The performance changed rooms within the Main Hall at Trinity; they have signs to direct you.)
Remaining Performance: Saturday, July 26 @ 7:30 PM
They say: “Can a woman find lasting love these days — especially a black woman? Can two people stay together “’til death do us part”? As a couple prepares to say “I Do”, these issues are explored. Will Cynthia and Chris save their marriage? Will Deanna make it out of the 70% Club?”
Brett’s take: Deanna and Jackson are about to get married, but he might have cold feet, or possibly a secret that he’s worried will ruin their marriage. Chris is not sure he wants to stay with Cynthia after five years of marriage. Deanna’s friends, including a backstabbing roommate, her sassy mother and a gay man, are preparing for the big event.
You might be able to see from the synopsis, but “The 70% Club” is not a play. It is a Hollywood romantic comedy on a stage. That’s not a judgment; the play follows the familiar structures and keeps with the tropes almost exactly. Considering romantic comedies usually take several Hollywood screenwriters and script doctors to put together, it is impressive that Mary McCallum constructed this on her own – and more so that she then puts in a necessarily likeable appearance playing Deanna, a lead role.
Actually, the script occasionally dips its toes into darker waters, as at the end of each act. The title is a reference to a New York Times article which reported 70% of black women are without a spouse; although producing company Sista Style Productions “prides itself on providing quality and relevant theatre” only during a scene at Deanna’s bachelorette party (the overall highlight of the evening) does the play actually tackle the subject with any interest.
The actors all acquit themselves well, particularly Jene India who effecitvely plays against her apparent youth to portray Deanna’s mother. If not for the awkwardness of the musical cues covering transitions, this could very well be filmed and put on screen as part of TInseltown’s menu of romantic comedies. The play is performed in a massive, echoey ballroom; the sumptuous decor actually matches the plush set (no set designer is credited), although the venue has no place for lighting whatsoever, and thus overhead lights remain on the whole time. The actors effectively project above their own echoing and the din of an air conditioner.
See it if: You like romantic comedies.
Skip it if: You don’t. (Sometimes these things are simple.)