MISSION TO MATE, written and directed by Colin Mitchell. These three lightly interconnected one acts, each an unlikely confrontation of male and female strangers, feature the cheeky writing one would expect of Bitter Lemons’ blogger-in-chief, though he also reveals a pleasantly sentimental streak he might disavow if pressed.
First a woman demands her virginity back from a café patron; then a writer on tight deadline is distracted by a phone call from a mysterious Ms. dangling a mysterious MS. before him. In the longest piece, which might merit expansion into a full-length by itself, the victim of a recent breakup is accosted by a time traveler from the year 2510, claiming to be the only fertile male left on earth and pleading to be Kyle Reese to her Sarah Connor. (Does the 26th century mislay the technology for sperm donation, or have all its females gone AWOL?) Mitchell provides rousing distaff roles in all three plays and Alla Poberesky rises to the occasion with relish, most impressively in her blowsy, lusty, cello-playing Russian émigrée in piece #2.
Unfortunately, not only is each of the male characters a milquetoasty nerd, but director Mitchell allows Michael Sanchez to play them all as the same milquetoasty nerd. It gets tiresome when the same timidity and halting delivery is applied to each. Two-handers always work best when each hand is equally skillful and charismatic.
Mission to Mate is part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival, and runs June 16, 17, 23, and 24 at the Theatre Asylum. For tickets, see hollywoodfringe.org/projects/860
About the Author: