When an alien lands in Roswell, the first thing it does is throw its arms around a flat-footed, lovelorn adolescent. This is the effect of much of I Come for Love — being trapped in a suffocating embrace while all kinds of strange and exciting things fill the periphery.
Frustrated with her utilitarian planet, Nine-O (the gifted, endearing Jodie Langel) travels to Earth to land a husband. She experiences culture shock, her only familiarity with Earthlings having come from radio advertisements. While negotiating slang and silverware, she befriends not-quite-couple Floyd (Adam Hose) and Bessie (Anna Eilinsfled), who rename her Aileen. The lovelorn extraterrestrial quickly falls for Scoop (Joe Barbara), a reporter desperate for a story. Alas, she cannot reveal her identity, because an angry mob is out to get the latest threat to the American people.
It's a fun set-up, with space invaders, 1950s movies and small towns all getting a nice skewering. I Come for Love is best when it takes itself lightly, employing dopey Freudian slips and simplistic special effects. But, more often than not co-creators Terrence Atkins and Jeffery Lyle Segal allow the plot to be mired in gooey, clichés such as "Your love is like a shooting star," "Nothing is stopping me," and "We're different but all the same". The result is ballad-heavy and dull, and the story is sweet enough at its core to not need any extra sugar.
Still, Atkins and Segal have some written lively, fairly sophisticated music, using rock, jazz and sci-fi film scores as guides, and their book and lyrics are not entirely without charm. It should be interesting to see their next effort.
Presented by Terrence Atkins and Jeffery Lyle Segal
at the Chernuchin Theatre, American Theatre of Actors, 314 W. 54th St., NYC.
Sept. 30-Oct. 5. Remaining performances: Fri., Oct. 3, 7 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 4, 4:30 and 9 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 5 at 1 p.m.
(212) 352-3101 or www.nymf.org