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Arts and Entertainment

'No Love' For Anyone In Eclectic Company Production

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Andrew Osborne's new play "No Love," now running at the Eclectic Company Theatre in Valley Village, iterates the uncompromising worldview of FM rock classic "Love Stinks" in a dramaturgical format straight out of the Arthur Schnitzler Viennese belle epoque provocation "La Ronde." All the principals here are in love, but all the ones they love have thrown their hearts at somebody else. Nobody wins.

Seven scenes each spotlight a relationship between one smitten party and the indifferent object of their desire. As the play progresses, every character who is pined for becomes the one doing the unrequited pining in the following scene until a final recapitulation rearranges, without exactly tying up, the various loose ends. And there's plenty of on-stage violence and some male nudity along the way.

We've noted before that the Eclectic always delivers top-notch acting, and this show is no exception, from Lili Stephens-Henry's ingenue NYC waitress all the way through to Michelle Danyn as the callous friend-without-benefits tormentor of her lifelong guy pal (Daniel Marmion). Blake Anthony is especially good as a young sad sack who discovers that his old flame from high school (Laura Lee Bahr) now willfully subjects herself to ritual humiliation and torture at the hands of her redneck husband (Ryan McDonough).

Eclectic company president Kerr Seth Lordygan skillfully paces the whirlwind array of events and characters that parade before us over the course of "No Love"'s 80 or so minutes, though some of these vignettes, inevitably, work better than others. Osborne clearly relishes dipping into the bag of classic shock value tools (rape, incest, bondage, mistaken sexual identities and misfired bodily fluids, guns, blood) and playing around with them for theatrical effect, while just managing to avoid pushing everything over the top.

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The poignancy of loneliness and romantic despair, which Osborne's and Lordygan's program notes insist are what the play is all about, peek through only fleetingly, but Marmion and Anthony effectively reek of recognizable human frustration in their respective scenes.

"No Love" runs through October 6, with shows Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. and Sunday nights at 7 p.m., plus additional Thursday 8 p.m. performances on September 20 and October 6. Full-price tickets $20 and $17 online, $18 and $15 at the door. $12.50 tickets available on goldstar. "Pay what you can" September 20 and 30.