I'm not sure what people who like romantic comedy will make of Corktown, by Detroiter Michael Brian Ogden, playing at the Purple Rose until March 5. I hate to sound like such a cackly old witch so soon after Valentine's Day, but most romantic comedies drive me insane with their zany, contrived cute meets, followed by a few hours of a fluffy, spunky heroine in some kind of pickle from which she's rescued by the guy she thought she hated. Corktown is a kind of final solution to that damsel-in-distress romantic comedy, and I loved it.
It's set in a fictionalized present-day Detroit, where Irish gang violence has reached such a pitch that it seems to offer a way out of Michigan's unemployment crisis. At least five characters have full-time jobs in the Irish mafia, and another (perhaps not so unrepresentative of state economics) is hoping to make a living in Ann Arbor studying it. Mostly, though, Corktown is about two young hit men, Joey (Matthew David) and Laurence (the playwright himself), and a sweet girl named Jenny (Stacie Hadgikosti).