Cross-dressing. Love triangles. Deceit. Girl on girl action.
Expect to see it all in “The Triumph of Love,” playing at Todd Theatre at 8 p.m. until Saturday night.
But don’t expect too much heavy drama. This 18th-century romantic comedy is so light it could almost float away.
Which is perhaps why it was enjoyable. “The Triumph of Love” follows the antics of Princess Leonide, played by Kelly Smith, who dresses as a man to infiltrate the home of the philosopher Hermocrate, played by David Pascoe, his sister Leontine, played by Miranda Gauvin, and student Agis, played by Mike Riffle.
Leonide is in love with Agis, and concocts a series of different deceptions to convince him to fall in love with her.
To do this, she enlists the aide of her servant Corine, played by Patty Tehan, the cook Harlequin, played by Nels Youngborg, and the gardener Dimas, played by George Bruhn. It all unfolds in a friendly little 18th-century soap opera.
The fact of this play is that there isn’t much to it, theatrically or technically.
Thus, the actors must pull the entire weight of the production by themselves. The majority of the Todd Theatre cast does this excellently.
Both Bruhn and Youngborg are appropriately over the top and farcical, carrying all of the play’s laughs.
Bruhn is perfectly angry and sarcastic as the bitter Dimas. Youngborg is a fantastically flamboyant Harlequin, entertaining enough to have made the whole play worthwhile.
His style of acting is completely even with that which this type of old-fashioned farce demands. The scenes containing these two actors are undeniably the most enjoyable.
Gauvin, Pascoe, and Riffle all have an accurate understated quality to their characters, which worked well.
Their scenes were significantly more subdued, but pleasant nonetheless. Smith is solid in her performance, but shows far fewer levels of emotions than those previously mentioned.
Some elements of the production are uneven. The modern language vacillates back and forth between poetic phrasing and words like “dude” and “dudette.”
This is, at times, distracting. All of the costumes are simple and understated except for Youngborg, who might as well be Joseph in his Technicolor dream coat. Again, distracting.
Lastly, the original music played by a string quartet of UR students is beautiful, but far too ominous and haunting for the play that it underscores.
The normally innovative Todd Theater took few risks with their most recent production.
The result was a play that came off as much fluffier than has come to be expected, but that didn’t make it any less fun to watch.
Mittelman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.