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Barefoot in the Park

a Comedy
CATEGORY : COMEDY
by Neil Simon

COMPANY : Button Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Jacqueline Casey Hudgens Center for the Arts [WEBSITE]
ID# 2839

SHOWING : July 05, 2008 - July 27, 2008

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

This classic comedy is the story of Paul and Corie -- newlyweds moving into their first apartment together. Their sixth floor home comes with some special features, the man next door who gets into his apartment by going through theirs, the small hole in the skylight and five flights of stairs. This look at the upheaval felt by newlyweds will have you laughing from start to finish.


CAST & CREW LIST
Asst. Director Ginny Lockhart
Director Celia Rosenblum
Costumer Clint Horne
Ethel Banks Lory Cox
Telephone Repair Man Jay Croft
Paul Bratter Jake B Cullens
Victor Velasco Jimmy Johnson
Corie Bratter Clarke Wolfe
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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Don’t miss your last chance to see Barefoot in the Park!
by Team Morrow
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
4.5
Choosing another appropriate show for their intimate theatre space, Button Theatre closes the month of July with Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park. Bringing together a talented cast and a script that is as timeless as romance, Button Theatre’s production of Barefoot in the Park is a delightful rendition of a classic comedy and comedy at its best.

The cast is headed by Clarke Wolfe as Corie Bratter, the impulsive wife of young attorney Paul, played by Jake Cullens. Wolfe’s wide-eyed enthusiasm for everything from her first phone to her first dinner party in her four (or five) flight walk-up apartment is a great contrast to Cullens’s practical approach to his new life. Wolfe is delightful in her opening scene where she befriends the telephone man, portrayed deftly by Jay Croft. Wolfe’s non-stop energy effectively portrays the excitement of the effervescent bride in her first home; however, she is at her best in the latter half of the show. When Corie is confronted with the results of her impulsive meddling in her mother’s life, the realization of her actions are played by Wolfe with honesty and depth.

Jake Cullens is amazing. His emotional range in playing a character with an emotional range that is almost non-existent is incredible. As the “stuffed-shirt” Paul, Cullens displays the appropriate compulsive tendencies – always wearing his gloves, always folding his muffler, placing his trousers “just so.” Yet, he never allows his character to be just a "fuddy-duddy." Cullens’s nuanced and complex portrayal of the promising young attorney, who can hardly keep up with his young wife’s antics, is alternately hilarious and profound. His timing and physicality are impeccable. From his out-of-breath entrance in Act I to his drunken barefoot walk in Act III, Cullens’s performance is the result of thoughtful preparation and brilliant execution.

Lory Cox is hilarious. Playing the part of Corie’s mother, Cox truly steals the show. With the same wide-eyes as Corie, but with shock instead of excitement in her gaze, Cox’s Ethel is believable both as the mother of this impetuous young woman and as the victim of her daughter’s impulsiveness. Every look, gesture and double entendre reveal the mixture of adoration and affliction she holds for her daughter – all of which combine to make Cox’s performance one of the highlights of the production.

As the mysterious upstairs neighbor Victor Velasco, Jimmy Johnson turns in a strong performance as an aging Casanova. From his accent to his dashing beret, Johnson imbues Victor with a nice contrast between the playboy he pretends to be and the middle aged man, which he is forced to admit, he actually is.

Strong performances and a classic script combine to create an entertaining evening and should not be missed! The show runs one more weekend: July 25th - 27th. Check out http://www.buttontheatre.com/ for ticket info and directions to the theatre. A great date night or family evening, Barefoot in the Park is definitely a show for everyone. Take a break from The Dark Knight and enjoy an evening of laughter and romance.
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An entertaining show!
by playgoer
Monday, July 7, 2008
3.5
First off, thanks to the powers that be that installed risers for the audience chairs at the Jacqueline Casey Hudgens Center for the Arts. This production I was actually able to SEE.

Neil Simon's writing is, as it should be, the star of the show. Lory Cox as Ethel Banks provides the most appealing performance, giving Mrs. Banks more warmth than edge. It's easy to believe that this New Jersey matron has devoted herself to her daughter Corie and will do whatever is needed to support her as she starts off in life, whether it's complimenting an empty, drafty apartment or being a "good sport" and heading for a spicy ethnic restaurant.

Jimmy Johnson's portrayal of Victor Velasco also comes off well, with a more believable "Bluebeard" personality than is usually seen. The continental charm and sophisticated danger that tinge his compliments to Corie strike just the right note. Costuming helps situate him as an urbane, albeit slightly down-at-the-heels free spirit.

While the costumes of the show work well, the hairstyles don't. The ponytail Mrs. Banks starts out with is not something a matron of the 60's would have worn. The unkempt version of it in act III is a hoot, but it goes a bit too far in its dishevelment. Corie's hair is fine in act I, but for act II is gathered into a loose up-do that isn't flattering and that smacks of a decade far later than the 60's. The worst hair, though, is sported by (sprouted by?) Jake Cullens as Paul Bratter. His thinning hair makes him look far older than the stated age of 26 and threatens the believability of his relationship with Corie, who is played with effervescence by Clarke Wolfe, but with little touch of the kookiness the character needs.

In act II, the relationship of the newlyweds ignites some sparks as a late-night argument escalates to the point of no return. That's followed in act III by Jake Cullens' appropriately drunken/coming-down-with-a-cold diction that cements his performance. The ending, though, doesn't quite ring true. It needs the sight of Corie edging out to Paul above the skylight to put the cap on the scene and the relationship.

Jay Croft as the telephone repair man is professional throughout, combining humor and believability in a nicely shaded performance. Not everything in the show is so professional. The set, in particular, lacks charm and absolutely screams "amateur performance." The lighting is better, with a glimpse of a nice moonlit effect in act II, but the execution of lighting changes was choppy in the performance I saw. Sound is iffy in spots, with some quiet moments almost lost and some of Jimmy Johnson's excellent projection coming across as muddied. Some details are wrong for the 60's too -- Velcro on the telephone repair man's bag? baby carrots for a snack?

Overall, though, this is an entertaining show. The major thing lacking in the performance I saw was AUDIENCE. Comedy feeds on the interaction between cast and audience and on the growing camaradie among audience members, as a chuckle from one person feeds into general laughter. So, to make the show even funnier, GO SEE IT! [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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