Mark Miller's "Ginger in the Morning" is one of the more ignominious comedies to hit the dinner theater circuit, a circuit not overly concerned with dramatic standards to begin with. Economics alone must have guided the Hayloft Dinner Theatre to this piece of piffle: The cast is small and the royalties (royalties? The Hayloft should be receiving indemnification from the author) can't be all that burdensome.
There certainly isn't a credible motivation or an astute observation in this tale of two couples who come together on New Year's Eve to carouse, drink, spat and eventually patch up their differences. The show's best line -- "Women should be struck regularly like gongs" -- is a steal from Noel Coward's "Private Lives," although Miller attributes it to Confucius. No other quips bear repeating. In the oddity department, it might be pointed out that director (and TV personality) Davey Marlin-Jones has contributed the lyrics to an original ballad, sung waveringly by the heroine and titled with more irony than is intended, "Where Do I Turn to Now?"
The heroine is a would-be free spirit, unmarried and 7 1/2 months pregnant, who captures the eye of a shy, divorced architect. The architect has a rowdy Vietnam buddy, who in turn is having marital troubles. A loud, unappealing crew by any yardstick, this gang grows louder as the evening wears on. The acting is as dismal as you might expect, probably because there is nothing at all to act. The sole moments of interest are provided by Wil Love, a usually reliable performer, who, as the architect's buddy, simply goes for broke. That's something like jumping out of a plane without a parachute, perhaps, but it does require a fair measure of daring.
GINGER IN THE MORNING by Mark Miller; directed by Davey Marlin-Jones; set, Daniel Conway; lighting, Linda Ifert. With Margaret Massman, Wil Love, David Noll, Margaret Winn. At the Hayloft Dinner Theatre through Dec. 27.