Goodbye Love, Goodbye Joy, Hello Travis McElroy is an uneven mix of relationship comedy and Hollywood satire. The laughs make attending worthwhile, but problems in tone and a sudden and unsatisfying ending may have you longing for a rewrite.
Linda (Megan Dominy), a sweet young woman who works in a dermatologist’s office, shares an apartment with two actress wannabees. Kelly (Kristen Egermeier) is the inexperienced and self-centered one who is having some success thanks to her looks, while the more experienced and slightly resentful Jessica (Teresa Spencer) mostly works selling clothes at an upscale department store.
After we see Linda engage in a teary yet funny call to a recent boyfriend’s answering machine, her two roommates decide to cheer her up by taking her out bar hopping like their role models, the “Sex and the City” women. Problems arise for Kelly when she gets drunk and brings home a random guy she’s eager to shed the next morning, Travis McElroy (David T. Dowell). Travis is a naïve young man who just moved to town to become a screenwriter and who falls instantly in love with Kelly. Kelly has no interest in Travis, opting instead to spend time with producer Patrick (Jeremy Lister), who is a real jerk but who can help her career.
Making fun of the movie business is a rich source of comedy – we’ve got another one, Four Dogs and a Bone, playing in the Fringe), films, and books. Yet other than making the point that producers are sleazy, the play doesn’t have much interesting to say about the movie biz. The play is actually far more knowing and funny in a scene where Travis brings Linda to a “Dungeons and Dragons” game run by Nathanadus (a hilarious Alex Perez). Given his skill with nerd humor, playwright Kozak should consider taking a stab at a spec script for
The actors’ styles vary wildly. Dominy and Spencer are good playing more realistic characters, while Lister has fun playing the producer in a broader manner. Egermeier seems stuck in the middle, and her character never realizes its dramatic or comedic potential. Dowell’s hero goes beyond good-hearted to being an unrealistic simpleton.
Parts of the play work well. Dominy makes Linda such an endearing sweetheart that you both root for her to win Travis and disbelieve the reason she lost her last boyfriend. Kozak writes also some nice dialogue between the young women and makes their disputes funny.
A major problem is the fact that the earlier fights between the roommates are very similar in size and tone to what’s supposed to be the big dramatic confrontation. As a result, at the final blackout you don’t believe that the play is over. Andthe play fails to achieve much power from an ending designed to be cynical and sad.
I wish I could give that stereotypical audience reaction of “I laughed, I cried, I wanted to see it again.” Instead, I did laugh, but I only cried over how a promising play fizzled out at the end.
Goodbye Love, Goodbye Joy, Hello Travis McElroy
by Aaron Kozak
Directed by Patrick Torres
Produced by 10th Muse Productions
Reviewed by Steven McKnight