It's hard not to like "I Really Like You, But . . ., " Josh Schiowitz's new comedy at Celebration Theatre. Everyone in it is so earnest and caring, even when fighting and cheating.
But that warm, fuzzy feeling proves to be the play's undoing. The characters and situations in this adult comedy are so mild that you almost long for a mustache-twirling villain to dash out from the wings. Something, anything, to give some kick to director Mary-Pat Green's irrepressibly huggable staging.
The story revolves around Hy (J. David Krassner), a sweet, teddy-bearish gay man who runs a nightclub with his wisecracking pal Seymour (Ed Martin). Hy desperately wants a romantic relationship, but his affairs--with a sensitive hunk (Bernie Van de Yacht), a bisexual singer (Scott McCray) and a climbing entrepreneur (Mark Ciglar)--keep ending in frustration. Hy has trouble seeing that the key to his happiness is right under his nose.
Nice, isn't it? Sure. So are the jokes, gentle swipes at Broadway musicals and psychics. The actors are persuasively nice, too, with Krassner doing next-door-neighbor nice, and Martin sarcastic-older-brother nice, and . . . well, you get the picture.
You may really like this play, but you probably won't respect--or even remember--it in the morning.
* "I Really Like You, But . . . ," Celebration Theatre, 7051 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Mondays-Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Ends Nov. 1. $15. (213) 660-8587. Running time: 1 hour, 45 minutes.