Theatre Review: Delta King's "Bad Dates"

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(Sacramento, Ca)
Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Haley Walker, the one and only character in this play, has so much going for her. She’s smart, attractive, has a wardrobe full of snazzy clothes, and runs a very fashionable restaurant. She even gets along reasonably well with her pubescent daughter. The only thing she needs to make her life complete is romance. But whenever she goes out on a date, things seem to start off on the wrong foot.

“The first topic on a first date should not be cholesterol. How is this a real subject? If you’re worried about cholesterol, order the fish. It’s grilled, it says so, right on the menu. So then, I kid you not, he orders the Coquille Saint Jacques. Scallops wrapped in bacon, swimming in cream sauce, topped with toasted cheese.”

Haley describes this kind of disappointment again and again, as she’s changing in and out of gorgeous outfits, and as a result this story becomes somewhat predictable. But actress Deborah O’Brien makes the most of the material, putting a ring of frustrated authenticity into Haley’s 24/7 juggling act of work and parenting, which leaves a minimal amount of time for anything else. It’s these snapshots of her overbooked daily existence, more than her funny stories about the losers she meets over dinner, that gives this little comedy it’s zip. “Bad Dates” continues at the Delta King Theatre in Old Sacramento through May 1st.