Relationships are uneasy at North Coast Rep, which is presenting a one-act dramedy called This. Tom (Richard Baird) and Marrell (Judith Scott) have a new baby and a rocky marriage. Jane (Courtney Corey) is a recent widow with a daughter to raise. Alan (Andrew Ableson) is Jewish, gay and inexplicably mnemonic (he has total recall). They’re all unhappy to some extent, yet each is a beneficiary of intelligent, frequently funny words by playwright Melissa James Gibson. Punchy ruminations on love and scattered what’s-it-all-abouts are wrapped in a Showtime-sitcom sensibility (Corey and Ableson have superb comic chemistry in their moments together). The ultimate indictment of death, with Jane’s quaking hands deep in her husband’s ashy urn, overdoes it. What these four really need is this AND that, and maybe a group hug.
David L. Coddon is a Southern California theater critic.