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THEATER REVIEW: “Swimming In The Shallows” is an oddball comedy

Nick (J.D. Burke), who falls in love (and into bed) on a dime but seldom makes it to the second date, falls in love with a shark (Philip John).

Barb (Kathi Copeland), who has read that Buddhist monks only allow themselves eight possessions, decides to divest herself of stuff – which may or may not include mystified husband Bob (Kevin Six), who just wants to know where the key to the lawnmower is.

And Carla Carla (not a misprint) isn’t sure she’s ready for the commitment ceremony girlfriend Donna (Eve Parker) is pressuring her for.

Bestiality, Buddhism and balkiness – what can you make of the whacked-out characters (who are also friends) in Adam Bock’s oddball comedy “Swimming In The Shallows?”

InnerMission Productions presents the play through June 26 at Diversionary Theatre. Carla Nell directs.

“Swimming In The Shallows,” in fact, plays a bit like an episode of “Friends,” only weirder and more surreal. Unfortunately, it’s also less funny.

There’s too much talk, too little action here. Nick and Donna confer regularly about his inability to get a second date and her spectacular lack of success in quitting smoking, and the monotony of these repeated efforts becomes our boredom as they talk, talk, talk – but show us nothing.

Barb and Bob – whose conflict offers the greatest potential for visual comedy – get short shrift as we are again told that Bob doesn’t listen. Later, we are told that Bob eventually notices when the bedroom furniture has been reduced to a pillow, a candle holder and a flower.

The shark (“introduced” to Nick by Donna at the aquarium where she works as a guide) seems the most reasonable of the lot, especially poignant as he reminisces about the open sea of his birth.

But despite the cast’s heroic efforts, these characters (and the audience) all seem adrift in the shallows Bock has created.

The details

InnerMission Productions’ “Swimming In The Shallows” plays through June 26 at Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Blvd.

Wednesday through Saturday at 8 pm; Sunday at 7 pm.

For tickets, visit HERE.

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