Living on Love

Theater, Comedy
2 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

Living on Love: Theater review by Adam Feldman

Before she makes him smear olive oil on his naked chest while she acts out a scene from La Bohème, aging opera diva Raquel—played by renowned soprano Renée Fleming, in her Broadway debut—asks a destitute young writer to “act” like he’s a destitute writer, which he proceeds to do very badly. Being is not the same as acting, and this lesson is illustrated by Fleming herself throughout Joe DiPietro’s lousy new comedy, Living on Love. She’s a great star giving a mediocre performance as a great star.

Raquel and her wild-haired, lecherous Italian husband (a pajamaed, game Douglas Sills) are tritely tempestuous classical-music legends who hire ghost writers (Jerry O’Connell and Anna Chlumsky) to write their dueling memoirs. The canned corn of DiPietro’s writing—“This dog was petted by more Italians than Sophia Loren!”—is pressed into mush by Kathleen Marshall’s clunky direction; the younger actors, who spend most of the play in a panic, are nearly unwatchable. Living on Love is meant to be hammy, but it’s not even that. It’s a bland, synthetic dud: a ham-flavored turkey.—Adam Feldman

Longacre Theatre (Broadway). By Joe DiPietro. Directed by Kathleen Marshall. With Renée Fleming, Douglas Sills, Jerry O'Connell, Anna Chlumsky. Running time: 2hrs. One intermission.

Follow Adam Feldman on Twitter: @FeldmanAdam

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