Isle of Shoals’ world premiere of “LoveCourt,” a very sexy new musical, runs for only two weekends: this one and the next (September 7th–17th), at the Robert Moss Theatre.

And you won’t want to miss it – because when I say sexy, I’m not just speaking metaphorically.

It’s got steamy romance, it’s got singing, it’s got dancing, it’s got humor, it’s got heart – it’s got legally mandated corporate policies on sexual harassment in the workplace…!

Can I get a “hell yeah”?!

The story of LoveCourt is inspired by Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure,” yet all but the deepest similarities are forsaken in the updating. Here, our protagonist, played by Kasey Yeargain, works in the Human Resources department of a faceless corporate monstrosity, and excels in the handling of sexual misconduct cases. At least, until he “misconducts” himself a little bit…. 

Yeargain has a real Clark Kent/Superman thing going on, and not just physically. Though, incidentally, I should probably mention that he does look exactly like Clark Kent and/or Superman, physically speaking, and this does not hurt the show’s sex appeal.

But Yeargain’s character spends the first half of the show stuck in Clark Kent mode, and only through the painful completion of his arc does he discover the true Superman within himself. However, instead of leaping over tall buildings or outrunning speeding trains, this guy’s super power is… well, I guess you have to see the show to find out. (I’ll tell ya what: take another look at the title and I’ll give you two guesses. …No, not that one. Try again. …Okay, here’s a clue: it’s not the “court” part. THERE ya go. Sheesh!)

The role of his wife is played by Jennifer Teska, a collegiate professor who is, perhaps, partly driven by some questionable motives. Meanwhile, she and Yeargain suffer from a loveless marriage, which they express so truthfully together in “Scene from a Marriage” that I felt every inch of that aching frustration along with them.

Teska and Yeargain pull down every veneer, and force us to witness something difficult and true – which is something truly difficult to do.

Meanwhile, in that scene, a triplet of extremely versatile actors, Hannah Grace Forsley, Kevin F. Rogers, and Chloe Willa, credited collectively as “The Trio,” standby omnipresently, merely watching at first. They’re motionless for so long I forgot they were there – until they started singing along with our miserable couple.

(It’s in the subtle touches like this that you can really feel the guiding hand of director Stephen Ryan as he confidently guides us down the path of this narrative.)

Throughout the show, Forsley, Rogers, and Willa play a dauntingly diverse variety of roles (everything from ghostly specters to rock band vocalists to medieval courtiers to office monitors), and blend together in tight vocal harmonies that are as stunningly beautiful as they are harrowingly haunting. The three of them are equal parts temptation, titillation, and the austere condemnation of both.

In case things get a little too hot for you on stage, don’t worry, for Cecilia Vaicels is prepared to throw the coldest, wettest towel on you that I’ve ever seen. She’s one tine of a three-pronged assault of comic relief, and she drives her part of it home with her number at the top of Act II – a song so charming and so funny, and performed with such irreverent gusto as only Vaicels can bring, that it absolutely slayed.

The second tine is the lovely Ruby Locknar, who is all character, bringing an adorable quirkiness that is as strange as it is familiar. She plays a foreigner who either has her own unique sense of humor, or really, really doesn’t understand humor at all. She rides the line perfectly. And that LAUGH of hers… it will haunt my nightmares.

And the final prong of comedy is a villainous combo of academic cutthroats, played by Natalie Martzial and Cheney Morgan. The pair of them only have a few moments in which to steal the show, and they waste no time in doing just that!

“A Man of Flesh and Blood – and Heart” is delivered by a woman of power and poise – and some serious pipes – the illustrious Cait Kelly.

Samantha Lee Stoltzfus adds a heaping helping of sex appeal and some lighthearted comedy to the show, only to bring the roof down in “Don’t Tread on Me,” a bold and spicy duet with Cait Kelly, which they belt out in glorious female fashion.

I can’t tell you how pleased I was to see an actor, Justy Kosek, playing a guitar on stage… and actually playing guitar. Aside from that probably minuscule detail, he brought the same degree of honesty and conviction to his entire role, adding a dimension of emotional turmoil that raised the stakes for everyone, which could have easily been overlooked.

Kosek doesn’t have to force you to watch him, because while he’s performing you can’t look away.

And when he sings “I Could Be a Troubadour,” no mortal can resist him. I know I couldn’t.

The emotional heart of LoveCourt is wisely entrusted to John Mervini, whose character is caught in the unforgiving gears of our corporate code of conduct when a complaint is filed against him. He’s not a particularly likable guy (the character, that is), yet he will break your heart when you learn the true depths of his character’s capacity for love.

Mervini’s performance of “Helpless” sent shivers up and down my spine, as his character’s honestly difficult situation was brought to life by Mervini’s soul-felt acting and masterful musicality. He manages to blend the cold, rough edges of a tortured personality with the tenderest touches of human compassion – all springing from a gushing font of pure, raw yearning.

The mixture is eviscerating – and once you’ve stitched your innards back inside yourself, you don’t quite seem to fit together the same way again. Mervini has changed you.

LoveCourt did not need to ask a lot of the costume department, yet it shined nonetheless, and nowhere as brightly as at the office Christmas party, where a smorgasbord of ugly sweaters and hilarious, festive details strived to steal the scene (I’m still smiling over the Jesus flask).

Similarly, the set did not set its sights too high, so attention could be given to nuance, such as the otherwise blank, black boxes which can be found in every theatre, here given a thoughtful coat of paint to transform them into filing cabinets. Perfect.

Director Stephen Ryan gives us some lovely expression in his blocking, notably at the conclusion of “Night Into Morning.” There you’ve got two characters in parallel situations, yet one is upstage, one downstage, one left, one right. They are visually equal, yet in opposite corners. What Ryan accomplishes with this seemingly simple arrangement is the conundrum of articulating something that’s “the same, but different” – a wholly impressive message to get across effectively, which Ryan does with aplomb. It’s like he’s whispering into your conscious ear, while dominating your subconscious everything. It’s really quite an experience.  

LoveCourt asks a variety of timely, essential questions. “You can’t behave at work like you’re on a street corner,” says one character. And yet, how can we take the street corner out of the ape? Furthermore, even if we could, should we…?

Bryan Williams, book writer and lyricist, has an authorial voice that peeks out now and again through his characters to speak directly to your soul. “I think that kindness is the highest art,” he says at one point. Well, if that’s so, then Isle of Shoals has brought together one of the kindest theatrical teams you could hope to see.

The plot is extremely well tied together. I don’t want to give anything away, but the way all of the various characters’ actions come back around to inflict consequence, and to interconnect, harkens to a Game of Thrones level attention-to-detail.

A thoughtful and considerate audience can rest at ease with the very capable Bryan Williams behind the book.

Williams also plays keyboard for this production, and while I saw a chair behind him, I never caught him sitting it in, because he was on his feet rocking the entire show through. And I can understand why: the score by Joe Ferrante is a toe-tapping Wonka confectionery of creative musical fusions.

Ferrante gives us Motown, old school Vaudeville, classic rock, funk, ancient ballad, original country, bluegrass, Spanish, Latin, and all sorts of Americana in seamless combination. 

“LoveCourt” impressively melds the lifeless sterility of legally-structured corporate culture with the sweaty, sexy, and downright disgusting nature of real-life humanity, sealing the two disparate worlds together with the glue of great music.

To quote the show itself, this production is “beyond awesome!”

Come on down to the Robert Moss Theatre, September 7th through the 17th, to experience the unbridled, passionate, and overtly sexy thrill ride that is LoveCourt!