The Science of Love, at Noble Fool Theater Company. Husband-and-wife comedy shows are a tricky proposition, based as they are on the premise that an audience will be keenly interested in other people’s love lives. Newlyweds Kristy and Jethro Nolen present a series of scripted sketches and monologues plus improv bits (directed by Jack Bronis) as a Dr. Phil-like seminar on the pitfalls of married life (the two claim during the show to be the authors of such self-help tomes as “Dying Alone: It’s as Bad as It Sounds”).
Nothing startlingly fresh is on display here, though the Nolens–veterans of many Chicago comedy revues and Amsterdam’s acclaimed Boom Chicago company–have terrific instincts and charm to burn. Jethro Nolen’s self-assured dumb-guy persona recalls Fred Willard, which makes some of his hoarier battle-of-the-sexes observations easier to swallow. (“In a relationship, I can be right, or I can be happy,” he declares.) Kristy Nolen has the routine of the sharp-tongued but loving wife down cold, explaining her control-freak tendencies by noting, “We cannot let the monkey be in charge of the organ grinder.”
Such comic explorations of heterosexual relationships in the context of anthropology and sociology have been done to death in recent years (Defending the Caveman et al), but the Nolens bring just enough bite and bile to this late-night offering to keep the smarm at bay.