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The Sunshine Boys
a Comedy
by Neil Simon

COMPANY : Main Street Theatre Tucker [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Tucker Recreation Center
ID# 5125

SHOWING : October 06, 2017 - October 15, 2017



Meet comedy veterans Lewis and Clark. The act has been broken up for eleven turbulent years. Television wants to put the team together one more time – but they can’t stand each other! Can they bury the hatchet? Will the finger keep them apart? This is classic Simon at his best.

Director Jim Nelson
Willie Clark Charles Bohanan
Nurse Saundra Davis-Forrest
Al Lewis Leo Finocchio
Patient Jason Garrett
Ben Silverman Evan Greene
Eddie Jonathan McCullum
Sketch Nurse Ellen Wynn
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The Vaud Couple
by playgoer
Monday, October 9, 2017
Neil Simon’s "The Sunshine Boys" shows a contentious vaudeville team, Lewis and Clark, reuniting for a TV special. In the first act, we see them meeting at the urging of Clark’s nephew after 11 years apart. In the second act, we see a rehearsal and its aftermath. Since this is Neil Simon, we have a lot of comic conflict and a lot of funny lines.

The production at Main Street Theatre Tucker makes use of a unit set, designed by Sharon Bower, that represents a New York City hotel room. We see a bed stage right, a chair center stage, and a table and chairs stage left. Posters and photographs adorn the walls. Up left we see a hint of a kitchen counter and cabinets. The highlight, for me, is a window giving a 3D effect of a view towards the St. James Theatre. There are also bands of squiggles on the wall giving the impression of flocked wallpaper. Scenery art is by Aaron Whitmoyer and Christina Crim.

Lisa Temples’ props and Carrie McGuffin’s costumes hint at the time period of the 1970s, and they really get a workout at the start of the second act, when a set of painted canvas flats, with folding chairs at the sides, represents a TV soundstage set for the prop-heavy sketch comedy of Lewis and Clark. There’s a flair to the scenery, costumes, and props that give real zing to the show.

Walter Stark’s lighting design doesn’t get much of a workout in Simon’s script, but lets all the action be seen. Similarly, Charles Wasmer’s amplified sound design lets things be heard. Television sounds, both at the start of the show and after the rehearsal, are done beautifully. Within the TV rehearsal scene, though, the voice of the director doesn’t sound very authoritative or professional.

Director Jim Nelson has cast the show appropriately and blocked the action so that only a modicum of head shifting is needed to view the essential action from an audience in which all members sit on the same level. Jason Garrett and Jonathan McCullum don’t make much of an impression in their small roles in the TV rehearsal scene, but Ellen Wynn is a "wow" as the sketch nurse, and Saundra Davis Forrest does a good job as a real nurse. Both of their performances owe something to being shaped by the director, with moments of choreographed movement. Evan Greene does well as Clark’s nephew Ben Silverman, although his animated performance doesn’t have a lot of nuance and depth.

The real stars, appropriately enough, are the Sunshine Boys themselves -- Charles Bohanan as the irascible Willie Clark and Lee Finocchio as the more amenable Al Lewis. Both sport utterly believable New York accents and have tremendous stage presence. Their interplay contains the ring of truth, bringing Neil Simon’s characters to boisterous life. Only an occasional insecurity in lines mars their performances, and that would go away in a long run of this always entertaining show. Unfortunately, there’s only a couple of weeks to enjoy their vaudeville shtick and love-hate relationship as it lights up the stage in Tucker. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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