Sunday, May 5, 2019

"Significant Other" ☼ ☼ ☼

Kyle Cameron's performance in Joshua Harmon's "Significant Other" is so spectacular that it outshadows the rest of the show. Cameron plays Jordan, the gay male friend of three women. They are thick as thieves until, one by one, each of the women gets snapped up by husbands. Jordan ends up feeling old and in the way.

We have seen these female characters in countless sitcoms, the stereotypical fast one, the ditzy one and the more soulful one. The male character is also a cliché, the gay male who is kind but misunderstood, a neurotic Jew, everybody's friend but nobody's baby. Kyle Cameron turns these overused motes into towers of strength with nothing but body language and performance of a brilliant script. He does his best to take a somewhat pedestrian story and turn it into art.

We liked the ensemble cast. Laura (Ruibo Qian) has the biggest part, as the sympathetic friend. Nicole-Azalee Danielle plays Vanessa and Hayley Lovgren plays Kiki, the other two women of this trio, whose ties are far closer than Jordan realizes. We love Joy Carlin but she is wasted here in a simplistic role as Kyle's doddering grandmother.

Of the two men in the cast, Greg Ayers shows great depth in his three roles. August Browning has three lesser roles, including a gender-confusing role as Will.

One thing is for sure: Nobody wants to be Kyle Cameron's understudy.

What is the point here? Gender matters, no matter what anyone says. Friendship counts, but straight women choose husbands over friendship. Gayness means loneliness. And, above all, great acting is every playwright's best friend.


 The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division grants "Significant Other" Three Stars. Kyle Cameron's performance is award-worthy and that alone is worth the price of admission. Director Lauren English is wise to give him lots of space. And a special shout-out for Jacquelyn Scott's set. Each scene is a beauty. 

"Significant Other"
San Francisco Playhouse
450 Post Street, San Francisco
2nd Floor of Kensington Park Hotel
Through June 15

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