Both men and women need love and intimacy, but they often have a hard time getting them because of inherent differences between the sexes. If they understood those differences, results would be much more satisfying for both.
That was basically the premise of John Gray’s 1992 bestseller “Men Are from Mars – Women Are from Venus,” which was translated into multiple languages and sold 50 million copies world-wide.
But the one-man show, “Men Are from Mars – Women Are from Venus, Live!” currently playing at the Carlos Alvarez Theater at the Tobin Center, is written and performed for laughs. And it gets lots of them.
Adapted for the stage by Eric Coble, and performed by the talented Amadeo Fusca as if he was telling his own story, it hurls forward through clever banter, enacted vignettes, audience participation, and lots of physical comedy, that together translate Gray’s ideas into concrete examples of how a husband and wife may irritate, miscommunicate or puzzle each other.
In one funny scene he describes and physically enacts how his wife makes spaghetti while also doing five different things simultaneously, but when he cooks spaghetti he stands and watches the pot. This ties in with the line that a man does things “single file” while women are all over the place but manage to get things done nevertheless. In another vignette, he brings to life the woman’s need to explore an issue from every possible angle while the man would like to cut to the chase. They both come to the same conclusion but follow very different paths to get there. And his description of men’s and women’s sexual fires is hilarious.
Some bits are a little too cliché, like the repeated references to men’s tendency to watch sports all the time and making fun of an “opera date,” with the implication that only women appreciate opera.
Nevertheless, people laugh because they recognize nuggets of truth in the comedy. A stronger female perspective would have made the show more interesting and possibly funnier.
John Gray makes a couple of appearances via video but doesn’t really contribute much to the proceedings except, perhaps, to give Fusca a break.
As for the basic lesson that women need attention and understanding while men crave trust and approval, well, it’s rather simplistic, forcing people into cookie-cutter categories. But again, look for those nuggets of truth that may apply to your own relationship.
For tickets call 210-223-8624 or go to www.tobincenter.org