Theatre Review: ‘Design For Living’ at Irish Classical Theatre

Adriano Gatto, Ben Michael Moran, and, Kate LoConti in “Design for Living” at Irish Classical Theatre.

There are few things that will shock an audience these days. However, when Noel Coward’s “Design for Living,” premiered in 1933, the idea that a woman loved and lived with two men who also loved her was radical.

Kate LoConti, Adriano Gatto and Ben Michael Moran are a charming comedic trio…

This relationship is the central plot for “Design for Living,” which premiered at Irish Classical Theatre Company this weekend. Gilda, a vivacious interior designer; Otto, a starving artist and Leo, a successful playwright, are all caught in this passionate love triangle that fearlessly fights societal norms. The story, told in three acts, follows the trio as they encounter all the uproar and hilarity that comes with their relationship.

Kate Mallinson directs the cast, fearlessly led by a boundless, fiery Kate LoConti as Gilda, an endearing Adriano Gatto as Otto and a suave and sassy Ben Michael Moran as Leo. The trio is on fire throughout the entire production, specifically in the third act. Their energy never dies, sometimes resulting in Moran flying through his lines, but it is undeniably infectious.

Eric Michael Rawski portrays Ernest, a friend of the trio, with great force but it is Jennifer Fitzery as Leo’s maid Miss Hodge that commands the theater whenever she makes an entrance. Fitzery’s comedic choices are genius and her appearances, while brief, are refreshing and welcome.

Elliot Fox, Connor Graham, Anna Krempholtz, Ron Mangum and Lisa Vitrano round out the cast as enjoyable supporting characters.

The production also features lovely costumes by designer Ann Emo and assistant designer Alicia Draeger. David Dwyer had a lot to accomplish with the set needs of the show and did it well. Brian Cavanagh’s lights and Tom Makar’s sound complete the production’s clean technical elements.

Overall, the play itself can feel a little too long at times and some accents could be tidied up, but LoConti, Gatto and Moran are a charming comedic trio well worth the lengthy evening at the theater. “Design for Living” is a lovely romp to kick off Irish Classical’s 2017-18 season.

Running Time: 2 hours and 50 minutes including two 10-minute intermissions.

“Design for Living” runs through October 8, 2017 and is presented at Irish Classical Theatre Company in Buffalo. For more information, click here.