Imported from London, Losing Louie is a comedy by novice playwright Simon Mendes Da Costa which revolves around the story of two brothers who haven’t seen each other in ten years and become re-united at their father’s funeral. Tony Ellis a struggling member of the working class with a teenage daughter and a low-class wife named Sheila who, though apparently rather stupid, is also shrewd in that stereotyped-B-Movie-dumb-blonde way. Reggie Ellis, six years younger, is a spectacularly successful lawyer with expensive cars, an expensive house, two genius twin children, and a smart and sophisticated wife named Elizabeth who has had her wedding ring turned into some kind of genital jewelry in a desperate attempt to save their marriage.
The story line is very predictable but although the action all takes place in one room, it is never dull or claustrophobic to watch. The set is elaborate and a beautifully constructed main bedroom in a large family house. The directing is first class, not only in the way the scenes are seamlessly interwoven, but also in the attention to detail within the scenes themselves.
The script is well constructed, as well as witty. As the play focuses on the complications of one particular family, it does not hold a great political message, but it explores emotions that most individuals experience: the irrationality of love, and the inability to let go of childhood memories and scars.
Losing Louie has all the makings of a typical British bedroom farce, but with none of the wit of, say, Alan Ayckbourn. After the audience is bombarded by several sophomoric bedroom scenes, numerous quips about the male anatomy and long-winded stories involving priests, rabbis, and Buddhists, one begins to wonder what the point is to all this vapid bawdiness. However, it is not until the second act that we begin to realize that there’s actually a solid story here about brothers reconciling after years of contempt for each other.
As a whole, Losing Louie is neither perfect nor disastrous. While it borrows from many other plays and revolves around an oft used theme, there is a certain quality of freshness in the dialogue and the character portrayal. It promises a few hearty laughs and manages to tie up the ends to create a solid storyline. When all the shows on Broadway are fully booked, Losing Louie provides an alternative.