Tony Abatemarco’s “Forever House,” now in its world premiere at the Skylight Theatre in L.A., offers plenty of charm, vividly comic characters and gut-busting one-liners.
That said, a few of the plot lines don’t quite pay off, and the play culminates in diatribe that feels heartfelt but seems more like a hastily contrived exit device than an organic resolution.
If the play is a bit of a fixer, its blemishes are mostly cosmetic -- nothing that couldn’t be addressed in a lightly spackled rewrite. Abatemarco, a theater veteran whose credits include acting, directing and writing, finds the humor -- and the pain -- in a young couple’s messy, sometimes surreal, struggle to commit for the long-term.
The young couple happens to be gay: Technology executive Jack (Michael Rubenstone) and dedicated teacher Ben (James Liebman) have just purchased a craftsman -- Ben’s childhood home -- just outside Los Angeles. The men intend to raise a family in their “forever house,” but Ben is having a hard time adjusting to suburbia, while perkily homophobic neighbor Gloria (Elyse Mirto) is having trouble adjusting to him. Worse, spooky manifestations in the basement make Ben want to run for the Hollywood hills.
Rubenstone makes the most of his neurotically scattershot character, but Liebman seems initially strained, perhaps because he’s the sole straight man among these larger-than-life eccentrics.
“Forever House,” Skylight Theatre Complex, 1816 ½ N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles. 8:30 p.m. Fridays, 8 p.m. Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays. Ends Feb. 28. $30-$34. (213) 761-7061. skylighttix.com. Running time: 2 hours, 15 minutes.