THEATER REVIEW: Triad’s “The Maiden’s Prayer” is a godsend for theater-goers

There’s nothing more depressing to the unintentionally single than someone else’s wedding.

And when the bride is your sister and she’s marrying the man you love and his best friend feels the same way about him, you’ve got a Nicky Silver meditation on romance, loss and the randomness of love.

Triad Productions presents “The Maiden’s Prayer” through Jan. 23 at Diversionary Theatre. Adam Parker directs.

Taylor (Jason Perkins) has just married Cynthia (Samantha Ginn); while the reception progresses in the house, neurotic SOB (sister of the bride) Libby (Rhianna Basore) escapes to the back porch, where she finds Paul (Nathan Caracter), the groom’s best friend (but not quite best man).

Libby has never recovered from her brief fling with Taylor; now she slugs down champagne from the bottle, kvetching at full speed about “the hypocrisy, the bone-chilling hypocrisy,” as if to drown her crush in alcohol and words.

Paul is gay but not flamboyant; he has been crazy about Taylor since they became neighbors at age six, and still harbors a rapidly fading hope of rekindling a relationship more than best buddies.

Cynthia eventually repairs to the porch in search of Libby (the bride wants to toss the bouquet). But Libby is a sore loser, and instead of going inside for the bouquet toss, she stomps off to the nearest bar, where she picks up a one-night stand and discovers her true calling.

Sometime after that, unimaginable loss estranges Cynthia and Taylor the constellation of this quartet changes again.

While the serious who-gets-the-brass-ring drama is being played out, Silver provides frequent comic relief as the very funny, very gay Andrew (a completely winning James P. Darvas) comes and goes, reporting on his adventures in the search for a lover with cable TV.
Though Andrew’s place in the play is dramatically questionable (as is the ending), his is a welcome presence, and Parker’s assured directing and the cast’s fine acting make “The Maiden’s Prayer” seem a better play than it is.

Basore’s Libby is a convincing combination of bravado and fear; Darvas irresistible as the ever-hopeful Andrew who may have found Mr. Right.

Ginn’s Cynthia shows how fleeting and arbitrary happiness can be; Caracter’s Paul is solid, stoic and just right. Only Perkins’ Taylor seems somewhat tentative, though some of the blame for that is Silver’s.

Production values are high. Kudos to set designer Jocelyn Parenteau, costumer Josh Hyatt and tech wizards Matt Lescault-Wood and Austin Meyer.

The theater year is off to a good start, thanks to Triad.

The details

Triad Productions’ staging of “The Maiden’s Prayer” plays through Jan. 23 at Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Blvd,, Suite 101, in University Heights.

Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 5 p.m.

For tickets, call (619) 220-0097 or visit

www.diversionary.org

To read more reviews by SDGLN Theater Critic Jean Lowerison, click HERE.