Encore Michigan

Wilde Theatre’s ‘Love List’ hilarious

Review January 21, 2024 Julie Linderleaf

BRIGHTON, MI–If you could create the perfect mate by writing down the ideal 10 qualities you seek in the perfect match, would you do it? 

The Love List by Norm Foster, directed by Lynn Wilde at A Wilde Theatre, in Brighton, Michigan is a bright comedy that had me in stitches from beginning to end. The play revolves around Bill, a dweeby aging analyst portrayed by Sean Sabo, who finds himself on the verge of turning 50, divorced, and stuck in his solo bachelor lifestyle. The twist comes when his best friend Leon, played by the talented Patrick Grimes, presents him with a unique and unexpected gift.

Leon signs Bill up for a new dating service crafted by a gypsy, adding a whimsical touch to the storyline. The premise is simple yet brilliantly executed – Bill is tasked with jotting down the top 10 qualities he desires in an ideal mate. What ensues is an evening filled with laughter as the two friends brainstorm and deliberate on the perfect set of attributes for the perfect woman. Bill uses a past lover, Justine, that died in a car crash after their romantic entanglement in Ireland in his youth. 

Sean Sabo’s portrayal of Bill is nothing short of outstanding. His comedic timing and expressive delivery had the audience in fits of laughter. Patrick Grimes as Leon complements Sabo perfectly, creating a dynamic duo that adds an extra layer of humor to the play. The best friend chemistry between the two actors is believable, making their interactions genuinely enjoyable to watch.

After the two friends feel like their list is complete, Bill crashes asleep at his desk, but is woken up by loud knocking at the door.  “Justine” appears and knows absolutely everything about Bill and seems to follow everything on the list to a perfect tee. Laura Mandernack embodies the perfect mate perfectly, even when Leon and Bill catch on and do a bit of editing to the list! 

The clever writing by Norm Foster adds depth to the comedic elements, providing thoughtful insights into the nature of relationships and the often absurd expectations we place on our significant others. The dialogue is sharp, witty, and laced with humor that resonates with the audience.

The set design by Al Pelky, deserves a special mention for its creativity and ability to enhance the overall experience. The small space was creatively transformed into an overly work-cluttered apartment of a bachelor that lives only for his job. 

The only small drawback was the extra long scene transitions due to costume changes.   The audience noticed and small comments rumbled through the audience, however the music choices of late 80’s soft jams even got some of the audience singing along with the tunes to pass the time. 

“The Love List” is a must-see comedy that combines stellar performances, witty writing, and imaginative set design. Under Lynn Wilde’s direction, the cast brings Foster’s script to life with infectious energy and charm. 

Whether you too, like Bill, are celebrating a milestone birthday or simply in the mood for a good laugh, this play is guaranteed to leave you thoroughly entertained. Tickets are selling out fast, so make sure you get on “the list” before it disappears after February 4.