Girlfriend at Berkeley Rep (Minus the Girl)
Young love is hard enough without being a gay teenager in Nebraska. But Will and Mike translate the standard boy-meets-girl-and-makes-her-a-mixtape story into something far sweeter. Girlfriend - Berkeley Rep's latest world premiere - blends Matthew Sweet's music into a fresh story about two boys who graduate from high school into a summer of newly-mown grass, drive-in movies, and bottles of rose pulled from the nightstand.
Written by Todd Almond as something of a tribute to Matthew Sweet's seminal album, Girlfriend happily complies with Berkeley Rep's usual devotion to form and function, thanks to direction by Les Waters and choreography by Joe Goode. And when funneled through leads Ryder Bach (Will) and Jason Hite (Mike), the show becomes a high-energy-leaping-off-the-stage-and-almost-landing-on-the-audience's-feet endeavor. The singing's pretty damn good too.
So if you need a palate cleanser from all that carefully-constructed hipster cynicism or a nice high that doesn't leave you hungover the next morning, hop on BART and head to Berkeley.
Berkeley Rep, 2025 Addison St., Berkeley. Through May 9. Tickets at (510) 647-2949 or www.berkeleyrep.org.