Still time to see uproariously funny “Living on Love” at Asolo Repertory

Among the best shows this season is the uproariously funny “Living on Love” – a delightful tonic (there are even still a few seats available for Valentine’s Day) about big egos, young romance, and everlasting love. Vito (Karl Hamilton) and Raquel (Rebecca Caine) De Angelis are immensely popular and charismatic performers who each hire a scribe to ghostwrite their personal memoirs. Vito is known simply as “maestro” and Raquel is fittingly called “diva,” and everything about them is oversized, overstretched, and overwrought. Hamilton and Caine are both masters of comic timing and virtuoso range portraying the two as a perfect pair whose egos can barely fit in the same penthouse together.

Photo of Rebecca Caine (Raquel De Angelis) by Cliff Roles

The entire show takes place in the De Angelis’s divine digs – every careful detail of the set design is suited to aging, successful celebrities. Another perfectly proper pair is Eric (Roland Rusinek) and Bruce (Matthew McGee), butlers who team up to cajole and appease the demanding and dueling De Angelis duo. Eric and Bruce have some of the best lines and one final song together leaving the audience cheering.

The De Angelis pair met and fell in love when they were developing their artistry, and despite their frequent travels and his alleged infidelities, they have a wall of snow globes as a monument to their love given to one another for every place either has ever visited. However, in an effort to capture a last breath of youth, each finds a potential suitor in a young writer, Robert Samson (Josh James), who greatly admires diva and signs on at first to write Vito’s memoirs to get close to her, and Iris Peabody (Ally Farzetta), a bookish young editor whom Vito convinces to take the place of Robert.

Caine with Karl Hamilton as the De Angelis pair, photo by Cliff Roles

Naturally, hijinks ensue as Robert and Iris each move into the penthouse determined to be the first to complete a De Angelis memoir. James and Farzetta are both terrific and game for all manner of embarrassment, culminating in one of my favorite lines from diva to James – “Never be afraid to glisten!”

This show was a true crowd pleaser, and the entire cast was at the top of their game. There were even moments that I could not hear some of the lines, because the audience was laughing and howling at the antics of the six leads. I am not normally a fan of farce, but this play of arts and letters was so witty and even quite moving in moments that it scores a perfect A+ in my book.

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