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Tipping Point lists lots of reasons to laugh

By Bridgette M. Redman

Looking a gift horse in the mouth can have dangerous consequences.
In "The Love List," Bill gets himself the perfect girlfriend – until he starts trying to tweak perfection. Then things go seriously awry for both him and his best friend, Leon.
Tipping Point Theatre's production of Norm Foster's play is charming and fun with just a touch of spookiness. Dave Davies creates the statistician Bill who is likeable and naive, the type of guy who can be deadly dull one minute and adorable as a teddy bear the next. Meanwhile Wayne David Parker plays Leon, the novelist who would like to believe he is suave, debonair and a connoisseur of the female gender. He's slightly arrogant and admittedly shallow, a man who has done little to make himself a good partner while being overeager to describe in detail what the perfect female match should be. Together, the two balance the tension and comfort that simultaneously exists in the long-standing friendship between these two men.
It is Tina Gloss-Finnell as Justine who mixes things up between these best friends, blowing out the comfort zone in which both live, and forcing them to question what they really want out of life. She is a delight to watch as she waltzes through their life, the only one completely assured about everything she does and who she is – even as her personality undergoes major changes when the men start playing with her traits.
The play opens on Bill's 50th birthday, and Leon has bought him the services of a gypsy matchmaker who requires only that he list the 10 requirements he has for a woman, in order of importance. The two friends quickly reveal the differences in their values as they discuss what should be on the list and in what sequence. Shortly after Leon leaves for the night, Justine shows up at Bill's apartment, acting as though she has been in a long-term relationship with him and displaying all the characteristics that the two men put on the list.
Bill, who has gone seven years without a date and who had been in a pretty lonely marriage before that, doesn't take long to simply accept this gift, first as a joke and then as fate. If it's a trick, he's not too eager to get to the bottom of it. Then the two men learn that when they change the list, Justine also changes.
Gloss-Finnel does a fantastic job of quickly adapting these changes and forcefully demonstrating the best and worst of each trait the men come up with. She's so convincing that it's easy to see why Bill can't question Justine's presence for long.
Lynn Lammers has fun with the direction of this show, keeping the actors moving so that audiences on all sides of the thrust stage get their turn at viewing the expressiveness of her three actors. She also works with Lighting Designer Joel Klain and Sound Designer Julia Garlotte to create a handful of clever effects to make the audience wonder exactly what Justine is and where she comes from.
Properties Designer Natividad Salgado has a huge task in filling Bill's cluttered apartment, a set built by Dennis Crawley, with Bill's research materials, a fully stocked bar and kitchen that is realistic and functional.
"The Love List" is a fun show that asks a lot of "what if?" questions about male friendships, marriages and dating.

REVIEW:
'The Love List'
Tipping Point Theatre, 361 E. Cady St., Northville. Thursday-Sunday through Feb. 19. $28-30. 248-347-0003. http://www.tippingpointtheatre.com

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