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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Boulevard's 'Cowboy' Rounds Up Fun Romance

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Love is weird. When it's strong enough, the emotion of love outweighs any sense of logic. Michael Golamco's Cowboy Versus Samurai explores this notion in its best moments, which are brought to the stage in a local premiere by the Boulevard Theatre.

The story takes place in Breakneck, Wyo., a slice of small-town America that remains untouched by the mass culture of the 21st century. Into this predominantly Caucasian town comes an Asian woman named Veronica. She's written to be charming—and as played by Veronica Sotelo, she is charming. Sotelo is attractive and sharp, and she speaks with a pleasant mix of Asian-American and Latin-American accents.

Veronica's not looking to date, even though three guys are interested in her. Clarence Aumend plays Chester, a militant social activist. He tries his best to be appealing, but the character is too flat to feel authentic. Another knock against Chester's chances is that he's Asian, and, as the play explains, Veronica is not attracted to Asian guys. This is also a problem for Travis, an Asian man with a strong attraction for Veronica. Travis is played by David Lee, whose charisma lends itself to a complex near-relationship with Veronica—it's complex because Travis is writing love letters to Veronica and signing them for Del, a tall, handsome gym teacher played by Rick Fresca. Del is a towering, lovable guy who longs for the kind of emotional depth of Travis. And so Travis writes love letters under Del's name. What's the worst that could happen?

It gets a little awkward when trying to tackle bigger social issues, but Cowboy Versus Samurai is fun as a romance.

Boulevard Theatre's production of Cowboy Versus Samurai runs through June 24. For ticket reservations, call 414-744-5757.