From left, Ruibo Qian, Kyle Cameron, Hayley Lovgren and Nicole-Azalee Danielle are terrific in San Francisco Playhouse’s “Significant Other.” (Courtesy Jessica Palopoli)

‘Significant Other’ a funny, tender look at love and friendship

San Francisco Playhouse production gets the details just right

“Your wedding is my funeral,” says Jordan, who’s gay, to his best friend, Laura, in the second act of “Significant Other,” Joshua (“Bad Jews”) Harmon’s tender and hilarious comedy about a quartet of millennials looking for love in New York City.

Laura is at the receiving end of an enraged, breathless rant in which Jordan, the play’s main character, pours forth all the bitterness and resentment and loneliness he’s feeling as his longtime friends Kiki and Vanessa — and now at last Laura, the one he always thought was his (platonic) soulmate — find men and get married.

It’s not just that Laura’s getting married; she’s having exactly the sort of expensive, overdone wedding that she and Jordan always mocked.

Jordan feels betrayed, and so does Laura. She’s furious that he can’t be happy for her. After all, she and the others have always been there for him.

It’s a testament to Harmon’s pitch-perfect script — his unerring ear for the way people really talk to each other, his willingness to dig deep into his characters’ uncomfortable-to-express feelings — as well as to director Lauren English, to the flawless cast and, not least, to San Francisco Playhouse’s attention to the production’s design details, that this play is so deeply satisfying, even at times cathartic.

As his women friends find partners (and not necessarily perfect ones) over the course of a year or so, Jordan (a stunningly honest performance by Kyle Cameron as a character that could have been played as a stereotype) bumbles through an obsessive crush on a hunky co-worker (August Browning, great in several clearly delineated roles), a one-night stand (Greg Ayers, ditto) and anguished late-night phone calls to the women for support.

He also composes desperate, querulous emails to men — emails he knows he shouldn’t send — and, as he becomes increasingly bereft, confides in his widowed grandmother (played with great delicacy by Joy Carlin).

All the while, Kiki (Hayley Lovgren as a chatterbox who gets especially loquacious when she’s drunk), elegant and dour Vanessa (Nicole-Azalee Danielle) and free-spirited Laura (Ruibo Qian) try to bolster his sagging spirits while rejoicing in their own good fortunes.

This is the best kind of human comedy: the kind where (with actors this good) you can see bits of yourself in all the characters, where the audience laughter is rueful, where you might shed a few tears and where the ending, which comes at just the right time, is truthful.

REVIEW

Significant Other

Presented by San Francisco Playhouse

Where: 450 Post St., S.F.

When: 7 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 3 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays; closes June 15

Tickets: $35 to $125

Contact: (415) 677-9596, sfplayhouse.org

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