If the course of true love never does run smooth, it rarely encounters so many detours as in Amy Merrill’s “reggae play,” Driving on the Left Side. When Serena’s fiancé jilts her at the altar, she hops a flight from snowbound Buffalo to steamy Negril, Jamaica, in a frenzied attempt to get her groove back. At a nightclub, Serena (Jennifer McCabe) meets the smooth-voiced, snake-hipped Cowboy (Postell Pringle) and doggedly pursues him. Complications ensue when Serena’s ‘Nam-addled father (Paul Navarra) arrives; Cowboy’s plump-bottomed mother (Sharon Tsahai King) erects roadblocks as well.
The four bearded and jolly members of Reggaelution (like so many Rasta Santa Clauses) maintain an onstage beat as the improbable action unfolds. These untrained actors amuse as Cowboy’s fellow band members, but a crisp copy of the DSM-IV is necessary to understand the other characters’ disjunctive psychologies. In one scene they behave with considerable emotional verisimilitude; in the next they shriek and flutter as in the broadest of comedies. (Florante Galvez’s jerky direction and a very lazy, lazy-Susan set don’t improve matters.) The roads of Jamaica are notoriously poor, so perhaps it’s unsurprising that, as tours of the human heart go, Driving on the Left Side offers a bumpy ride.