Renée Taylor and Joseph Bologna came into the spotlight in the 60s. Accomplished writers and actors, theirs is one of the more enduring pop culture partnerships. Lovers and Other Strangers, their 1970 collaboration - first a play, then a film - told the story of their wedding in the Culture Clash of extended Italian and Jewish families.
The play was made into a successful film, had a memorable song (For All We Know) and is still relevant in what it has to say about relationships today.
Thus, Taylor and Bologna are touring with Lovers and Other Strangers but it is now more of reminiscence, a look back on what was and how it came to be. They tell us about yesterday from the vantage point of today.
The show was at Las Vegas' Suncoast last weekend.
The two have not lost their edge. They are funny, good raconteurs and clearly enjoy each other's company. To reenact their story, they have two actors - Jack Maxwell and Jennifer Lassalette - playing themselves as they were when younger, about to be married and a young couple trying to tell his parents they want a divorce.
It's fun but, unfortunately, Maxwell and Lassalette are somewhat miscast. For example, at one point Maxwell's character mentions that Lassalette's character is taller than he is. To achieve this, she's forced to wear ultra high heels that look nothing like any earlier time period that may be appropriate. Thus, the effect is jarring. Intentional or not, in this play about popular ethnic cultural stereotypes, they are both kind of white bread and mayonnaise.
But, people didn't come to see anyone but Taylor and Bologna. And they are a pleasure. They look great, their timing is still impeccable and the audience loved them.
Sadly, for the first time I've ever heard at the Suncoast, the sound was a bit off. There was some distortion and the levels were uneven.
On the whole, however, it was a fun evening visiting friends of whom one is very fond. And that is a lovely thing.
Lovers and Other Strangers