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REVIEW: "Looking"

Tipping Point Theatre

'Looking' looks like a winner at Tipping Point

By Robert Delaney

Posted: Feb. 4, 2013 at 9:40 a.m.

The humorous twists and turns of modern middle-aged dating form the basis of Norm Foster's comedy, "Looking," the latest production of the Tipping Point Theatre in Northville.

There are plenty of people in their 40s and 50s who again find themselves in the dating scene for one reason or another, often after having been out of it for several decades. In some ways, it's like they are kids again, while in others things have changed somewhat.

But that combination - as hope springs eternal, but experience tells us to not get our hopes up - can make for some very funny theater, as playwright Foster proves in this play. Theatergoers are likely to see aspects of themselves or of friends in the four characters in "Looking."

Those who enjoyed the Tipping Point's production of Foster's "The Love List" last season are sure to like this show as well.

Director Kate Peckham has instilled a wonderful sense of comedic timing in the excellent cast assembled for this production.

Andy (Dave Davies), who has a storage space business, has arranged a blind date with Val (Anne K. Miranda), a nurse, but Val has said she would be more comfortable having a girlfriend come along with them, and suggested Andy bring along one of his friends, too.

So, Andy has asked his friend Matt (Wayne David Parker), a radio disc jockey, and Val has asked her friend Nina (Sandra Birch), a female police officer. But matters take an unexpected turn that night, and Foster continues to show his ability to keep those turns coming through the rest of the play.

Parker and Birch are well-known to local audiences for their work at the Purple Rose Theatre in Chelsea, as well as roles in other productions, including at Tipping Point. And both are at the top of their game in this production.

Davies is simply one of the very funniest actors in local theater - a master at projecting an ordinary guy persona, though one who is engulfed in circumstances that make for lots of laughs.

Miranda will likely be a new face to most playgoers, but she brings plenty of experience gained elsewhere to her first Tipping Point role.

I can't say that I think Bartley H. Bauer's set design works particularly well. If this were a fast-paced farce, then I could understand the four rather undifferentiated doors, but this isn't that kind of show. It seems there could have been a better way to create a sense of the various venues in which the action takes place.

But the main thing is that "Looking" is a hilarious romp that most people should find to be a lot of fun. Nevertheless, playgoers should be forewarned that the playwright gives us four adults who engage in adult relationships of which some might not approve.

SHOW DETAILS: "Looking" continues through March 3 at the Tipping Point Theatre, 361 East Cady Street, Northville, with performances at 8 p.m., Thursdays through Saturdays, plus matinees at 3 p.m., Saturdays, and 2 p.m., Sundays. For ticket information, call 248-347-0003 or go to www.tippingpointtheatre.com.

Reprinted with permission of the New Monitor, Jan. 31, 2013

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