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Southern Comforts
a Comedy
CATEGORY : COMEDY
by Kathleen Clark

COMPANY : Stage Door Players [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Stage Door Players [WEBSITE]
ID# 4798

SHOWING : October 02, 2015 - October 18, 2015

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

In a sprawling New Jersey Victorian, a taciturn Yankee widower and a vivacious grandmother from Tennessee find what they least expected - a second chance at love. Their funny, awkward, and enchanting romance is filled with sweet surprise and unpredictable tribulation. Told with warmth and perceptive humor, this off-Broadway success is an affecting, late-in-life journey of compromise and rejuvenation, of personal risk and the rewards of change.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Kate Donadio
Gus Klingman Rial Ellsworth
Amanda Cross Karen Howell
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REVIEWS

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New Jersey Comfortable
by playgoer
Sunday, October 18, 2015
4.5
Stage Door Players has taken Kathleen Clark’s popular two-character comedy "Southern Comforts" and done it up in pleasing fashion. Taciturn New Jersey resident Gus (Rial Ellsworth) comes up against voluble Tennessee widow Amanda (Karen Howell), giving the audience plenty of comic and heartfelt moments as a romance develops between them.

Chuck Welcome’s set design shows us a fairly drab, brown-heavy living room in Gus’ house. At the start, it’s pretty bare. When Amanda enters the picture, her bright clothes (costumes by Jim Alford) and bright personality bring in added life (and later, added furniture). J.D. Williams’ lighting design and Rial Ellsworth’s sound design do all they need to in making the setting seem real. The only thing lacking in the set is a sense of height, which makes installation of a storm window on the stair landing appear hardly perilous. The script makes a point that the yard slopes down steeply, but having the window next to the door hardly makes it likely that a window a few steps up would be far off the ground. Still, the set has handsome bones.

Mr. Ellsworth and Ms. Howell play off one another nicely. The smallish auditorium allows each look and muttered line to reach each audience member, so no subtleties are lost in bringing the comedy to life. Director Kate Donadio MacQueen’s blocking doesn’t do the play a lot of favors, though. It seems to be based on a proscenium model, with the corner stage’s thrust-like features not taken into account, resulting in actors’ backs to either side of the audience for extended periods. Sightlines may not be perfect, but the comedy nearly is. This is a fine production of a funny, heartwarming play.
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