Coronado Playhouse is currently home to the first show of its 79th season: the West Coast premiere of Kara Emily Krantz’s “All Bark, No Bite,” a romantic comedy that’s a unique take on the complexities of modern relationships. With its premise based on a clever conceit, audience members can expect to witness and relate to the chaotic yet invaluable aspects of human and animal connections alike. “All Bark, No Bite” is an unconventional approach to storytelling, and though it feels corny at points, the dialogue is witty and infused with an authenticity that’s worth having a silly night out for.
“All Bark, No Bite” introduces us to a world where relationships take center stage. It revolves around the lives of two couples, Charlotte and Eugene, and Robert and Bella, who have very contrasting dynamics. Without giving too much away, the play offers an original take on the way our loved ones and pets can change that which we’re “used to” in a heartbeat. Its narrative has both a depth and universality that pet owners and couples will understand immediately. Actors Jillian Jones (Bella) and Kevin Bradel (Eugene) perfectly display the dynamics between a new puppy and the set-in-his-ways old dog, and their commitment to over-the-top interactions with Kara Tuckfield (Suzanne), Julianne Riddle (Charlotte), and Tim Baran (Robert) carry most of the genuine laughs of the show.
The simple set, filled with argyle sweaters and Matisse prints, allows each characters’ quirks to shine as well. Whether you’re like Eugene, who’s “tired of meeting people and just wants to snuggle”, or Bella, vying for attention and excited by change, there is something that will stand out to every personality. Too, it is a reminder that, while we can “train” ourselves for any moment, often it’s those we don’t plan that lead to the best unexpected outcomes.
“All Bark, No Bite” presents an opportunity to reflect on our own relationships, laugh at the absurdities, and appreciate the joy that love and companionship bring. Whether you’re a fan of the traditional tropes of romantic comedies, or simply appreciate a genuine portrayal of life’s messes, Krantz’s play is sure to leave you with a smile. It has a limited run through February 4th, with shows Thursday through Sunday, so be sure to snag your tickets through Coronado Playhouse here.