by David Wiltse
Directed by Pamela Hunt
Florida Studio Theatre/Keating
1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota, (941) 366-9000
Through June 9, 2007

Reviewed by Marie J. Kilker

As you can tell from the books that fill every nook in his apartment, Douglas Zweig (Paul Hebron) has set himself up as an intellectual. As his wife Lily's clinging dress and concern about her hair and makeup suggest, she's more at home with the blue, salmon, pink color scheme. He's a professor and writer of moralistic novels that sell poorly. "Like tending someone's grave," she keeps putting them outward on shelves of bookstores into which she pops on her way to selling real estate. Though she (Amy McKenna) loves the way Douglas "speaks in paragraphs," Lily'd like to be a part of more of his bedtime creations. They're about to have the Franklins, whom they don't care for, over for a routine boring dinner. This time it won't be routine.


Yoked to womanizing "like Prometheus to his rock," Rex Franklin (Jason O'Connell) also writes novels. His preoccupations with sex-crazed Nazis make better sales than illegal drugs. Anyone in skirts (all girls are varied nicely in a number of scenes -- except for fishnet stockings -- by cute Teresa Reilly) sends him panting. Except his wife Violet. (Yes, Stacey Scotte shrinks.) As in the titled dance, which introduced the characters, there'll soon be some intertwining. And reversals. First, though, between illustrating her keggle exercises and flattering Doug about his book Scapegrace, Vi holds her breath during Rex's sexy jokes, aimed at Lily. Oddly, the antics turn the Zweigs on, and that night having sex "all comes back" to them. Vi, on the other hand, is determined to have her turn at Rex's escapades. In between Rex flirting with a book buyer and exercising a droit de seigneur with his immigrant maid, he arranges to help Douglas inject sex into his books. You realize that won't be the key to Vi's attraction to him; she loves Douglas for the morality she'd like him to forego with her.


Love and lust lead to poetry-hating Rex speaking in iambic pentameters. Vi buys the book Joys of Adultery. You can't help but giggle as both couples cross kiss and try for sex with just the opposite of the men's usual respective results. They're so mixed up that they seek guidance and sympathy from each other. Have they changed? Or just changed places? Who's where and with whom in the final minuet?


You have to love the subtitles that clue you in to the substance of scenes or keep you aware of your surroundings: "The Lie That Binds," for instance, or "Nudge Your Husband—It's Almost Over." It's fun to keep up with the pace set by director Pamela Hunt, who never lets a nuance be dropped. Hebron couldn't be more bookish at first, more roguish at last as Douglas. Sexy McKenna is no delicate Lily of the valley, whereas a light lilac-outfitted Scotte goes from faded to flaming. As O'Connell's startled Rex says, "Who would have thought my wife was so interesting?" Of course, everyone looks just right dressed by Marcella Beckwith and lit by Micheal Foster to catch every mood.


Credit for scenic design is Nayna Ramey's, with important lighting supplied by Michael Foster. Production Stage Manager: Stacy A. Blackburn. FST's Artistic Director: Richard Hopkins. With 1 intermission, the play lasts 1 hr., 40 mins.


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