I wonder when Al Gore invented the Internet if he imagined it would explode into the spot where singles try their hand at long time romance. I also wonder how many of the same conversations are occurring during the same space in time that Tom and Amy are arguing about condoms and Jesus. Even if there are concurrent conversations, none are as funny, truthful and relevant as the conversation in Tony Fiorentino's brilliant romantic comedy My Dinner With Amy which opened Sunday at the Theatre Building.
Just writing a synopsis of the plot makes one chuckle. Tom sets up a date through quite the naughty named website; Tom shows up at the restaurant to meet the date; The date (Amy) is drop dead gorgeous: They sit down; Amy whips out a Bible and tries to convert Tom who is an agnostic. Plug into this formula a waiter who makes Paul Lynde look butch and you have one of the best 90 minutes you can possibly spend in a theatre.
My Dinner With Amy explores not only the obvious differences between the characters, but Fiorentino delves into both the characters psyche showing the audience the journey both characters took in life to get where they are now, alone and looking for saving. That is what makes the piece very poignant. As the layers are peeled away from each of the characters, the audience gets to put a mirror up to itself as there is a piece of Tom and Amy that exist in all of us.
Tony Fiorentino (Lease On Love, Cold, Cold Feet and Fraternal Instint) is becoming one of Chicago's most prolific writers, equaling that of Adam Rapp. Not only is Fiorentino's writing near perfection in this piece, but so is his casting and direction. First, he cast himself as Tony. Most actor/director/writers can't pull this off, but because Fiorentino knows what he wants to convey from his own material he easily makes that translate to the crowd with great rewards. No doubt part of Tony's decision in casting himself was to play opposite the gorgeous Star Alexis Valezques as Amy. Her comic timing is perfect and her facial expressions are priceless. Ms. Valezques could make anyone fall in love with Amy before the main course. Add in the mix Phillip MacFarlane's waiter who ends up playing part time psychologist to the diners and you have the perfect cast of Three's Company since the 1970's.
My Dinner With Amy runs through March 23, 2008 at the Theatre Building Chicago, 1228 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, IL. For showtimes and ticket information please visit www.theatrebuildingchicago.org
Pictured: Star Alexis Valezques, Phillip MacFarlane and Tony Fiorentino