Love, Sex & Real Estate

The Cast of Love, Sex and Real Estate (L-R) Eric Percival, Katharine McLeod, Frank Hanky, Rohan Lilen, Roger Hendricks Simon. Photo: credit Michele Becker
The Cast of Love, Sex and Real Estate (L-R) Eric Percival, Katharine McLeod, Frank Hanky, Rohan Lilen, Roger Hendricks Simon. Photo: credit Michele Becker
Rating
4.5/5

As the audience drifted in for Love Sex & Real Estate, patrons chatted quietly over the strains of the overture to the 1939 film Gone With the Wind.  Next, we heard the theme from the Godfather series of films wafting through the intimate, black box theater space. These musical reminders project complex emotional and dark pathos and do not feature happy endings. I recall Rhett Butler’s last words, “Frankly my dear, I don’ give a damn,” to the coquettish and now tearful Scarlett O’Hara in response to her asking him, “Where shall I go? What shall I do?” I wondered what portentous clues lie in these sound bytes. As the lights dimmed a bit, the theme from the mystery comedy and frequently absurd film franchise The Pink Panther softened the musical clues of the preceding works.

Rohan Lilien as Ugo and Katharine McLeod as Allison in a scene from Love, Sex & Real Estate. Photo by Michele Becker

Rohan Lilien as Ugo and Katharine McLeod as Allison in a scene from Love, Sex & Real Estate. Photo by Michele Becker

This is Ugo’s (Rohan Lilien) story. He appears as the narrator and explains that he has discovered an uncomfortable truth. He’s the intuitive, sensitive teenage son of Allison Kleen (Katharine McLeod)  and Valter Kleen (Frank Hanky). Ugo loves movies and can dispatch film trivia at will.

We hear a couple engaged in what appears to be a midday tryst. As the pair is revealed, we find Manhattan real estate broker John (Eric Percival) with Allison, who responds ecstatically to John’s passionate sweet-nothings about the perfect New York apartment. He whispers about an apartment with two baths, two bedrooms, a dining room with crown molding, an upscale kitchen, and a garden. Before parting, they discuss John’s desire for the future divorce of Allison with her husband Valter and their next rendezvous on Thursday.

Eric Percival as John and Katharine McLeod as Allison in a scene from Love, Sex & Real Estate.  Photo by Michele Becker

Eric Percival as John and Katharine McLeod as Allison in a scene from Love, Sex & Real Estate. Photo by Michele Becker

John works for property owner Sol Gurkowitz (Roger Hendricks Simon), a crusty elderly curmudgeon who is concerned about the type of people to rent the two-floor apartment in the building he owns and in which he lives. He wants quiet, respectful adults, no children, smoking, or pets. Despite Sol’s concerns, John convinces him to meet Allison, Ugo, and Valter to determine if they can rent the apartment. In the interview sequence, we better see the diverse personalities of this family trio, from the temperamental artist German-born Valter, the ambitious Allison who loves her son dearly, and Ugo with his slightly rebellious, sometimes sarcastic persona.

We have a potpourri of deceit, lies, an adulterous affair, a teenaged son who overhears his mother and lover making their sordid plans, and a delightfully pompous but lovable artist husband who designs art to be despised. We also have the immature broker John, who continually pressures Allison to tell Valter of their love, and Sol, who, while desiring peace and quiet, ends up in the middle of the entire matter. This could trudge on ad infinitum, end in tragedy, reconciliation, or a complex, inevitable conclusion.

Roger Hendricks Simon as Sol and Frank Hanky as Valter in a scene from Love, Sex & Real Estate. Photo by Michele Becker

Roger Hendricks Simon as Sol and Frank Hanky as Valter in a scene from Love, Sex & Real Estate. Photo by Michele Becker

Sol emerges as the hero and stalwart of common sense. His moments with Ugo, whose world is spinning out of control, are among the most tender, vital, and satisfying. Particular acclaim is noted for Roger Hendricks Simon for his powerful, empathetic role as Sol.

The play is two hours without intermission and captures the imagination throughout within its rich context of possibilities exuding from human frailty, the complexity of relationships, and the dangers associated with love triangles. While some may find betrayal disturbing, Tempus Fugit as the cast, with superb timing, marvelously developed characters and chemistry, clever bantering, and witticisms, moves inexorably toward a viable surprise conclusion.

Ugo appears for the denouement and completes the story. You’ll need to see this yourself to discover how, if at all, it resolves.

Love, Sex & Real Estate

By Bill Cosgriff
Directed by John D. McNally

The Cast

Rohan Lilen as Ugo
Eric Percival as John
Katharine McLeod as Allison
Roger Hendricks Simon as Sol
Frank Hanky as Valter

Chain Theatre Mainstage

312 W. 36 St., New York NY

Readers may also enjoy our reviews of Dolls House Part 2, Burbank: Disney in Crisis, Let Me Cook For You, The Life, and In the Trenches.

Love, Sex & Real Estate

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