Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.

Signature Theatre
Review by Susan Berlin | Season Schedule

Also see Susan's review of Snow Child

Jimmy Mavrikes and
Lukas James Miller

Photo by Christopher Mueller
Perhaps Girlfriend worked better in theory than it does in performance. The two-man musical now in the ARK Theatre at Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia, borrows the songs from Matthew Sweet's 1991 rock album to tell a universal story of falling in love for the first time, but it seems to drag even though the run time is just 90 minutes.

Director Matthew Gardiner has two personable performers, Jimmy Mavrikes and Lukas James Miller, and keeps them busy on Micha Kachman's serviceable set with Colin K. Bills' expressionistic lighting design: they chase each other around the stage, play air guitar, perform choreography designed to look as if they're improvising, call each other on their brick-like cordless phones, and listen to mix tapes on their boom boxes (the year is 1993, the place a town in Nebraska). Behind the performance area is a glass-enclosed sound booth where a four-woman rock band led by keyboardist/conductor Britt Bonney play and sing the songs.

It's the summer following high school graduation for Will (Mavrikes), a sensitive young man who knows he's gay but doesn't talk about it (except that privately he sees his life in terms of musicals), and Mike (Miller), the athletic and academic star who never paid attention to Will when they were in class together but is now interested in a friendship. They go to a drive-in theater over and over to watch an absurd movie about a nun who's also a superhero, and Mike talks about his girlfriend—who lives in a neighboring town, so Will doesn't know her—and plays his (real) guitar.

Will is coping with his parents' divorce and has no plans for his life after high school. Mike's father is a perfectionist, a doctor who expects his son to go to medical school whether he wants to or not. The relationship between them grows incrementally, which is true to life but allows for restless audience members to check the program and see what the next song will be and how soon it might be coming up.

Signature Theatre
April 17th - June 10th, 2018
Book by Todd Almond
Music & lyrics by Matthew Sweet
Will: Jimmy Mavrikes
Mike: Lukas James Miller
Directed by Matthew Gardiner
Music direction by Britt Bonney
ARK Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave.
Arlington, VA 22206
Ticket Information: 703-820-9771 or 1-800-955-5566 or