Directed by Diane Timmerman
Through July 30
The best and most coherent line delivered in the Phoenix Theatre’s The Ice-Breaker is, “It was like making love to someone undergoing an exorcism.”
Don’t let that smart quip fool you. The Ice-Breaker is a painstaking script full of heavy-handed sap and enviro-babble delivered at super-sonic speed.
Karen Irwin is Sonia, a Ph.D. candidate who searches out Lawrence, played by Rockland Brooks Mers, an earth scientist. When Sonia was 17 she found Lawrence’s lost journal on a glacier, and he became the inspiration for her life’s work. Sonia, who is in permanent hyper-drive mode, believes Lawrence has information that could crack her theory on global warming. But Lawrence is living as a recluse who drinks too much, shuns air conditioning and has “issues.” But, the Energizer Bunny and the old lush end up in bed together within a few hours of meeting — and in the middle of a smashing lightning storm. How romantic.
No matter how nuanced Irwin and Mers play their characters — and they do; top work from both of them — this is a schmaltzy script. The relationship between the characters can’t move past “Tell me!” “No!” And the technical jargon is so overdone (and goes nowhere) that the show becomes frustrating. Even with the help of director Diane Timmerman, no matter how much life Irwin and Mers pump into their characters, they can’t revive this lifeless script.
The Ice-Breaker continues through July 30 at the Phoenix Theatre, 749 N. Park Ave. Tickets are $25: 317-635-PLAY, www.phoenixtheatre.org.