Henry and Alice sure strike a chord with those of us in long term relationships. The characters are 50-somethings, with nearly grown kids, flagging careers and less than stellar action in the bedroom. Sound familiar?
If you can relate, then there's much to enjoy with the latest offering from the Mayfield Dinner Theatre. In Sexy Laundry, playwright Michele Riml returns to popular characters Henry and Alice (who we've met before in the hit play Henry and Alice: Into the Wild). This time, the weary couple is trying to spice things up with a night in a posh hotel, but things don't go as planned. They're still Henry and Alice, after all, with the same habits, complaints and issues facing any couple that has been together for a long time. He parks himself in front of the t.v. after work every night; she's a control freak who doesn't feel heard.
The 90-minute, one-act romp (directed by Mayfield newcomer Patricia Darbasie), keeps the audience's attention, not only with snappy dialogue and the odd f-bomb, cracking whip and leather thigh-high boots, but because it's all in the hands of two fine, veteran Edmonton performers.
Glenn Nelson is the hapless Henry, and he's just. Plain. Tired. Henry is dragged along by his enthusiastic wife, Alice (Davina Stewart), a go-getter who's determined to add some zip to her marriage with a weekend away from the home, kids...real life.
Nelson and Stewart and pros, taking hold of the material and running with it. The pair are funny and engaging, with an easy chemistry that makes us believe they really are a long-suffering married couple with two different ideas of how to proceed into their twilight years.
Nelson's beleaguered manner and hunched shoulders are a counterpoint to the perky, determined Stewart, who has energy enough to frequently hop on and off the bed, and don a provocative leather outfit for a whip-cracking, once-around the hotel suite. You won't go far wrong with these two at the helm of a production.
Closing out a successful season, the Mayfield sets the right tone with this saucy tale. It's a perfect bit of summer distraction. Sexy Laundry runs until August 7. Tickets are at 780-483-4051 or mayfieldtheatre.ca.