Monday, November 9, 2015

Review: Live Marriage Therapy

“Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus”, the best selling relationship book by John Gray is now a stage show and it's a two-hour laugh fest. Led by Peter Story, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus Live takes the teachings of Dr. Gray and relates them to every day situations.
After touring the country for about two years, Peter Story gives relationship advice to those couples desperately needing it at New World Stages in New York City. Story has a great rapport with the audience. The way he shares his personal anecdotes and circles them into making them feel directed toward each individual is what sells the show as a success. The tales happen to be universal and garner a round of laughs. But most of those laughs are geared for those straight married couples in the crowd.  For those who may not be in one of those coveted relationships, the material is certainly funny but they don't resonate as strong. Sure, the show is meant for a certain demographic but you can’t help but enjoy Story’s stage prescience. No pun intended, Story is a storyteller. He knows how to not only work an audience but also paint a picture through story. You never saw a single picture nor met her, after the night is over, you knew exactly who Peter Story’s wife Megan was. And good on her for allowing her personal life become the butt of oh so many jokes.
Director Mindy Cooper guides Story through Gray and adaptor Eric Coble’s piece. Cooper and her creative team smartly allowed Story be the star, though the videos by Bazillion Productions featuring Dr. Gray and those amazing animated characters certainly had their shining moments. The only odd choice Cooper brought to the stage were those comfy couches. While they were likely present to evoke a psychologist’s office, Story rarely used them and weirdly, you were waiting for them to be occupied.
New World Stages may seem as an unlikely home for Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus Live, but Peter Story owns the place. For those needing a little help in the relationship department, this show is a great date night. For all those single ladies and gentlemen, there will certainly be something to appreciate, but you may not feel completely welcome to the party. And that’s all due to the shameless inclusion every moment Story references the couples, and the single people, in the crowd.