Book: Cailín Heffernan
Music & Lyrics: Henry Aronson
Director: Cailín Heffernan
Reviewer: Robert Price
Loveless, Texas is an evening of country-western and traditional singing loosely strung together with a story. It is the tale of a group of men who all somehow deserve a wife by the end of the Second Act.
“Inspired by Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost,” Loveless, Texas is a tribute to the bygone days of Texan and Cajun culture. From the Bard, Cailín Heffernan borrows the concept of a no-women contract among the men, as well as the names of the Shakespearean characters. The rest is left behind. Berowne is a prodigal son, spending money across the world on booze and gambling with his two buddies Longaville and Dumaine. They enjoy philandering with many women, and end up jailed in France. King Navarre, Berowne’s brother, bails him out and takes away his trust fund, forcing him and his friends to work for an honest wage sans liquor, dice, or women. King makes a land deal with a Cajun woman named LaReine and then breaks the agreement because he strikes oil there. LaReine’s friends want to wed the famous playboys so they tolerate a song about which horse each woman is and how they can be strategically roped. There is also an old, lecherous preacher who marries a feisty 18-year-old with nice legs. Yeehaw.
Rather than Shakespeare’s quest for scholarship interrupted by the inspiration of romance, we have a melodrama about characters that don’t have clear motivations past money and marriage. The women are weakened from Shakespeare’s version, and Rosaline’s resistance to Berowne’s wooing becomes a wrong for which she must apologize. Henry Aronson’s songs are written in a variety of styles, often with clever lyrical turns. Unfortunately, in most cases, the music is not served by the script and the script is not served by the music. The songs that should further the plot don’t add information and the songs that express emotion seem to pull it out of thin air. Cajun enthusiasts may be excited to see the dialect onstage alongside a wedding broom dance, and all of the singing is superb. If you have any geriatric friends that enjoy The Grand Ole Opry and applauding politely, they’ll find nothing upsetting about Loveless, Texas.
Runs until 24 September 2017