When: Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. and Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through April 13 2014
Romantic comedies often get a bad rap from the literati, or those who endeavor to consume only Art with a capital A. But despite their predictability and reliance on well-worn romantic calamities, rom-coms done right can also be infinitely relatable, endearing, and just as witty and meaningful as works by the masters. Almost, Maine, a comedy by John Cariani now in production at the Altarena Playhouse, is a perfect example of rom-com done right. Composed of nine overlapping vignettes taking place in the same New England town that doesn’t quite exist (hence the “Almost”) on the same winter evening, Almost, Maine features nineteen characters (played with verve and bravado by four actors — Stewart Lyle, Donna Turner, Emily Garcia, and Steve Rhyne) in varying states of falling in and out of love with each other. And even though the play doesn’t portray any particularly grand insights or revelations about the clusterfuck that is love, its heartfelt immediacy and ordinary aplomb make it almost perfect.