She is totally unprepared for the gentle, soft-spoken Hank (the wonderfully understated Richard Ruyle), who sails right over her barbed wire demeanor and into her heart.
The interplay between the two is hilarious, as Hank woos, wines, dines and beds her much to Gayle’s bewildered consternation. She simply has no defenses against someone like him.
Unfortunately, the romantic adventures of Gayle and Hank then get completely obliterated by the playwright’s sojourn into a U.S. government plot to control its disgruntled citizenry with a genetically engineered happiness drug.
As soon as Hank (a government operative) learns that Gayle’s nubile but dimwitted roommate, Pearl (Madison Charap), is eternally joyful, he whisks both ladies to Washington, D.C., in order to extract Pearl’s positive juices for the manufacture of the drug.
Along the way, this dubious plot is stirred by Pearl’s equally dense terrorist former boyfriend, Gaylord (Brendan Broms), Hank’s motherly but sinister boss, Marjorie (Julie Briggs), and Marjorie’s murderous cross-dressing henchman, Manuela (Van Stewman Jr.).
Briggs is excellent as the sweet-talking but utterly villainous agent in control of the government’s attitude-altering experiments. Also acquitting himself well is Stewman Jr. as the surly former Latino revolutionary who wants only to be accepted for the woman he knows he is. Charap is more cartoonish than believable as the all-too-willing Pearl. And Broms plays terrorist Gaylord at only one level: loud.
Director Cullen smartly keeps the action moving swiftly, utilizing Moving Arts’ extremely limited stage space and rudimentary production values to good effect. Assisting greatly is the atmospheric sound design of Rory Johnston.