By William Wolf

LESS THAN 50%  Send This Review to a Friend

Gianmarco Soresi, who has written what is tabbed as an “unromantic comedy” called “Less Than 50%,” also co-stars in it with Hannah Hale. He is best when doing snatches of stand-up addressing the audience with some very funny lines pertaining to family, romance and sex.

Likewise, the most appealing parts of the very convoluted two-hander story that he has concocted are the amusing bits. As for the overall plot of two actors co-mingling work with their on-again-off-again love affair, whether romantic or unromantic, becomes a strain even at a running time of 80 minutes.

Both Soresi and Hale are very talented, and they work oh-so hard at trying to breathe reality into the tale. The author blends the personal story with the professional problems as he and Hale portray two aspiring actors who meet at college and forge ahead in a play he is developing with the hope of getting into the Fringe Festival and is finally winding up as part of the overall production under the busy direction by Jen Wineman in the intimate Theater C at 59E59 Theaters.

The show has been produced by Robin Milling in association with James Brent White, Todd & Elizabeth Donovan, Joann Farda, Jesse Kearney and New Light Theater Project. The title, by the way, refers to the author’s observation that less than 50% of first marriages work out, with the percentages declining further with each subsequent marriage.

The characters enacted, Gianmarco as himself and Hale as Laura, go through the complicated paces of their relationship onstage and off, sometimes hard for an audience to tell apart. It includes her falling for another guy, separations, reunions, recriminations and acting in the grand design of the play Gianmarco is determined to see staged.

There is a very maudlin ending gambit that apparently is meant to be moving, but comes across as hokey. Fortunately, the comic elements, especially as seen in Soresi’s standup gifts, do earn laughs. And both Soresi and Hale are appealing as actors despite the play’s repetitiousness and their need to handle an abundance of props visible on background shelves and snatched frequently for the machine-gun-like assortment of scenes. At 59E59 Theaters, 59 East 59th Street. Phone: 212-279-4200. Reviewed August 18, 2018.


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