By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Ric Delgado
By John Thomason
By Benjy Caplan
By Artburst Miami
There's a moment toward the middle of Louie and Ophelia when the newly enamored title couple gets into a verbal fight. Then Louie turns on the television and the theme to All in the Family begins to play. It's definitely humorous to hear the song, and the allusion to the egocentric Archie Bunker is ironic, given the play's two African-American leads, but the timing is also apt, considering both parties just exposed their previously veiled, staunchly individual personalities.
If we could see the way in which the characters mesh as well as differ, and if the play had a little more of Edith's sweetness, it would be a must-see. As is, M Ensemble's season finale explores the tumultuous relationship between a middle-age man and a slightly younger mother of two but lacks enough warmth and care to demonstrate that they are indeed in love.
Any weakness rests on the playwright's shoulders, Gus Edwards, whose script runs the gamut of contentious marital topics (money, being a good role model, friends liking one person more than the other) but omits the loving components that bind this duo. Loye Hawkins (Louie) and Carey Hart (Ophelia) keep things energetic and interesting, with Hart's trio of powerful breakdowns establishing her as a truly talented actress.
In many ways the show is a testament to the battles endured in any long-term union and candidly touches on several issues that hit strikingly close to home. Should you go? Only if you appreciate the trials and tribulations of the heart and can handle the words I love you being taken for granted.