Kevin (Kevin Moore) and Ted (Chad Peterson) are living one of the many gay stereotypes: The happy, 30-something male couple living a page out of the Pottery Barn catalogue — oozing understated good taste, drinking appletinis with abandon, making “brunch” into a verb. It’s so idyllic, it makes you sick … only you’re actually jealous of the easy domesticity.
But without conflict, there’s no drama, so in drives Donna (Cara Statham Serber), Kevin’s trashy, grifting sister with 15-year-old daughter Lottie (Kennedy Waterman) in tow. Donna wants something — we’re not sure what until the end of Act 1 — and throws a monkeywrench into Kevin and Ted’s wedded bliss … or perhaps revealing the tense underbelly of the relationship that has festered unnoticed for years.
It would be wrong to say that Harbor, the season-ending comedy from Uptown Players, sneaks up on you; from its mildly profane opening scene, it declares itself a bold attack on the conventions of polite situation comedy. But if there’s something to offend everyone, there’s also something to delight them. This is a thoughtful contemporary rib-tickler with just enough pathos to elevate it above the expected.
Director Coy Covington has assembled a stellar cast in this intimate and beautifully modulated production. Serber exceeds at playing subversively decadent women (she’s been Janet from Rocky Horror and one of the double-wide denizens of Great American Trailer Park Musical, if that tells you anything); she doffs off the rudely homophobic zingers without a blush. Moore and Peterson also have legit comic chops as well as lived-in ease to their relationship. You accept the surprising turns the plot ultimately takes because you believe the characters.
Almost outshining them all, though, is Waterman — still in high school, but more than able to hold her own. Her phone call to her biological dad is rendered authentically and heart-breakingly, without getting mawkish. It’s just one of the many sophisticated moments in Harbor well-showcased in this enchanting production.
Kalita Humphreys Theater
3636 Turtle Creek Blvd.
Through Oct. 25