“45 Coffee Dates”
The Players Theater through April 29
Reviewed by Robert Viagas
Writer/actress Antonia Kasper had to kiss a long line of frogs—44 to be exact—before she found her real-life Prince Charming. Using a semi-fictional alter-ego named Rachel Yardley in her new solo comedy, 45 Coffee Dates, author and star Kasper recounts how she staggered through an online dating death march of Mr. Wrongs.
Her war stories are mostly horrifyingly funny—one guy who throws up on her, another brings his mother on the date, and then there is “the guy with OCD…who was an SOB.”
Some of her dates are rejected on what seem like purely “lookist” standards. There is the story of the “philanthrojock” who turns out to be much, much shorter in person than in his profile pic. “You lied to me, Napoleon!,” she snarls. But since Rachel becomes the target of plenty of the same treatment, it only seems fair.
Let’s just say that If this becomes a TV special, Match.com will not likely sponsor it.
What keep 45 Coffee Dates from being simply an elongated stand-up comedy routine are her stories that swerve into the heartbreaking, such as when she loses her father, her dog and her unborn child in the space of just a few weeks. She compares herself to older women to see how their various life choices worked out. At age 39, her quest for a life partner becomes just one facet of a genuine midlife crisis. The fact that she’s able to muster such a wry sense of humor about it all proves a testament to her tenacity.
And just when it seems as if her comic misery will go on forever, the play swerves again, this time into a happy world where her dreams actually do come true. She earns them.
Katherine Elliot directs the production, which continues through April 29 in the upstairs space at The Players Theatre in Greenwich Village.
The production is advertised as leading up to the release of the story in book form later this spring.