SIGNIFICANTS AND OTHERS, Cobalt Ensemble Theatre, at TinFish Theatre. With its debut production, Cobalt Ensemble Theatre is already lost in the crowd of unremarkable storefront troupes. Assembling "a collection of comedic vignettes about love relationships" (a concept about as broad as "six pop songs about sex"), director Katherine Condit-Ladd keeps everything light and forgettable. With the exception of the final piece, David Ives's farcical The Universal Language, these vignettes are nearly indistinguishable: all include a quirky setup (a man shaving his ex-girlfriend's legs, a married woman desperate to cheat on her husband), lots of irrelevant quips ("I have fish--I'm working up to pets"), a psychological imbalance between two people that comes gradually to light, and a facile, faux-poignant ending.
There's little surprising in these scripts, and Condit-Ladd directs all of them at the same leisurely pace, her actors giving every line equal weight. Most problematic, no real relationships ever emerge, turning this evening of love stories into a series of empty proclamations. If the Cobalt folks are genuinely committed to "challenging audiences with emotionally honest work," as their press release claims, they'd best go back to the drawing board. --Justin Hayford