Much of No Rule Theatre’s The Personals plays out like a twisted Match.com ad. An early 40-something woman seeks a sweet and honest man. A serious reporter searches for, “an aggressive woman.” Blind man hopes to find a sighted mate. These are not the serendipitous perfect matches portrayed in those online dating commercials. That’s because the dates are part of an on-going role-playing game between a husband and wife who are hoping to repair their broken marriage.
Unable to pick up the pieces after a tragic accident, Don and Janna (Michael Kramer and Anne Kanengeiser) attempt to rekindle their lost love through their fake blind dates. The two go on dates set-up through personal ads in the newspaper. Taking on characters dictated in the personal ads, the two meet in the after hours of the bar where Don serves as both owner and headline entertainer.
The premise equates into a multitude of roles for Kramer and Kanengeiser, who both provide subtle hints of chemistry through their false personas that illustrates the love that once existed in the now vacant marriage. There are quite a few humorous moments, especially through Don’s cheesy magic act, but don’t mistake this for a stage version of Fifty First Dates. The mood is gloomy, a thick fog that separates a husband and wife who hope to find their way by pretending to be somebody else.