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Barefoot in the Park
a Romantic Comedy
CATEGORY : COMEDY
by Neil Simon

COMPANY : Rosewater Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Rosewater Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 3282

SHOWING : January 16, 2009 - February 14, 2009

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

After a six day honeymoon a spanking new lawyer, who has just won his first case 6 cents in damages, and his young bride, who is as pretty and addled as they come, move into the new, high rent apartment that she has chosen for them. But the difficulty is, in order to enjoy the charming character of this apartment, one has to climb six wheezing flights. And the apartment is absolutely bare of furniture, the paint job came out all wrong, the skylight leaks snow, there isn't room for a double bed, and an outlandish gourmet who lives in a loft on the roof uses it and the window ledge as the only access to his padlocked premises. The situation is enough to break the heart and burst the lungs of any stylish young lawyer; and indeed it does, on the night he flatly refuses to join his wife in a barefoot walk through the snow in the park. She kicks him out, but he comes back not for reconciliation, but because he figures that since he's paying the rent she should be the one to go. Come join us for a wonderful evening of entertainment and laughter.


CAST & CREW LIST
Lighting Deryl Cape
Stage Manager Eileen M Fulford
Set Design G.S. Riley
The Delivery Man Deryl Cape
Mother Amy Gandolfi
Corie Bratter Erin Greenway
Victor Velasco Jimmy Johnson
The Telephone Man Steve Pryor
Paul Bratter Alexandros Salazar
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

A Brisk Walk in the Park
by line!
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
3.5
Thanks to its excellent pacing, Rosewater Theatre’s current production of Neil Simon’s classic “Barefoot in the Park” was a pleasure to see. Many community theatre productions suffer from sluggish line pickups and unnecessary dramatic pauses (as actors momentarily struggle to remember their lines or their blocking), but thanks to director Lisa Sherouse Riley, that was not evident here. The snappy delivery and quick cue pickups in this production gave it a good energy and a brisk pace. That’s important when doing a Neil Simon play because they can be a bit “wordy” which can make them seem long if not handled correctly.

Before I get into my opinions on this production, I would like to state for the record that I was in a production of this show several years ago and I may have some difficulty being totally objective. Originally I wasn’t going to post a review because of that, but I thought there were many good things about this show that needed to be shared, so I thought I’d risk the possible lack of objectivity on some things.

That being said let me first go over what I consider to be the good points. I would like to compliment all the actors for their excellent vocal projection and elocution. It was really nice to both be able to hear, and understand, the dialogue (often a rarity in many other productions).

I felt Erin Greenway was extremely strong in her portrayal of Corie Bratter. Not only did she capture the essence of the character, she also sounded a lot like Jane Fonda at times (not necessarily a bad thing). The fight scene later in the play was extremely well done and she did a magnificent job sustaining her energy through what is a very long scene while still navigating the twists and turns of her character’s stereotypically female behavior. She did a great take –off of Lucille Ball’s “wahhhh” which really brought the scene into the correct time period for me. She positively radiated youthful energy and naiveté.

Her partner in crime, Alexandros Salazar as Paul Bratter did a fine job of trying to be a fuddy-duddy and a stuffed shirt. One of the joys of this role is that it is hard to tell the difference between stiff acting and acting stiff. I felt that he was perhaps too handsome, and that his looks were a little too “suave” for the character. He presented himself as a little more “with it” than the character actually is. That may have more to do with his costume which I will get to later. But he really rose to the occasion during the fight scene mentioned above. He gave as good as he got, and he got given good! Real good!

Amy Gandolfi was splendid as the totally off-kilter Ethel Banks. She truly seemed to be totally awash by the goings on. Her deft comic timing and willingness to be foolish made it a joy to watch her get carried along.

As I played Victor Velasco (with mixed results) in the previous production I mentioned. I find it hard to be objective about Jimmy Johnson’s portrayal of the character. His choices seemed to be based on the character being more strange than exotic and more kooky than avant guard. While it was entertaining at times, it was also a little uncomfortable for me at times. It’s probably just my preconceptions and expectations for the role clouding my enjoyment of an otherwise good performance.

Lastly the two supporting roles: the Telephone man and the delivery man. Steve Pryor as Harry Pepper (the Telephone man) has some of the best lines and scenes in the play and he makes the most of them. He gets some of the biggest laughs early on and again when he returns later in the play. He really scored with the audience during the later scene where he is uncomfortably in the middle of an “I’m not talking to you” fight between Corie and Paul.

From what I understand the minor walk-on part of the delivery man is frequently played by neighborhood homeless people and/or winos (or even vagrant lighting techs). Apparently on the day I saw the show, none of the regulars were available, so the part was played by G. Scott Riley. He fell down, dropped the packages, wheezed and crawled off stage. Frankly I think a wino could have done it better.

All in all, I enjoyed this production, but I do have some minor quibbles. My main gripe is with the costumes and the set. Both were adequate and functional, but neither did enough to help set time and place for me. Barefoot in the Park is a period piece. It is not contemporary. It is the early 1960’s in New York City. I didn’t get any sense of time or place from any of the visual elements in the show (other than the Princess Phone). I do applaud the set decorations for the “after the furniture has arrived” scene. The opulent inappropriateness of the furnishings was absolutely character correct (even if not period correct). Another point was that Paul apparently has only one suit and it comes with a beautiful peacock blue shirt. It looked fabulous, but men didn’t wear colored shirts until much later in the 60’s or early 70’s – and a “stuffed shirt” kind of guy would only ever wear a plain white, button down collared shirt (and a skinny black tie - probably should have looked like a "Blues Brother"). One final visual thing that struck me was that Amy Gandolphi’s natural haircut did not seem to me to be period, or character, correct. I think a wig would have been worked better.

I know that costumes and sets are the first things that are affected by limited budgets, but they should also be the first things embraced by limitless imaginations.

Barefoot in the Park is a script that is getting a little “long in the tooth” in my opinion, but it still makes for a fun, light hearted, fluffy enjoyable theatrical experience. Especially when it is as briskly handled and as enjoyable as this production is!
-Rial
[POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Very funny show
by Parrott65
Monday, January 26, 2009
4.5
I was very pleased with this production. I thought the actors were extremely effective, right down to Deryl Cape's brief performance as the out of breath delivery guy. I almost fell out of my chair when he came in. I could see a lot of chemistry between Erin and Alexandros that truly made the scenes what they were intended to be. The set looked great, lighting was awesome, and everyone projected fine. The only note I might give would be that the scene changes may need some filler music or something (especially the change between Act 2 & 3). It was a little awkward, but certainly didn't take away from the show, because it was extremely well directed and performed by the cast. Bravo. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Uh oh by Parrott65
I made a boo boo. There was music played during the set change. My bad!!
We Understand by Dedalus
No Need to apologize. We know how men "of a certain age" tend to nod off at inopportune moments :-)))
LOL by Parrott65
Well, thanks for pointing that out Brad!!! I'm just not as keen on these shows as these young wippersnappers are today, hehehe.
hey Parrott by Okely Dokely
I hope you're not as old-looking as that guy who's in The Elephant Man right now. Wow.
OUCH!!!!! by Parrott65
MAN MARK, you are brutal!!! LOL


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