Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Weekend Comedy"

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note: entire contents copyright 2014 by Cindy Sue


"Weekend Comedy"

Theater review by Cindy Sue

Written by Jean Brobick & Sam Brobrick
At Newport Playhouse and Cabaret restaurant

  First performed in 1985 in Kansas City, Missouri, Weekend Comedy is the story of two couples, one long married and one living together, who accidentally book the same cabin in the woods for a long weekend. When they agree to share the space, differences in their lifestyles, ages and beliefs lead to conflict and lots of laughter.  

The set by Production Manager Tonya Free deserves kudos in its own right. From the oil lamp by the front door, to the jackalop over the fireplace to the life jacket and oars on the wall by the bedroom, to the artistically applied paint on the walls, the whole room easily transports the audience to an isolated cabin in the woods.  

Sandra Nicastro plays Peggy the long-suffering wife who has arranged this weekend away from phones, television, newspapers and kids to rekindle romance with her husband, Frank. Since his idea of romance is letting her use his razor, she has her work cut out for her. Sandy does not overplay her part which could easily sink to the level of a trite sitcom. We believe her, whether she is playfully wearing a rosy peignoir set to revive Frank?s libido, dousing him with beer or angrily stomping off for a walk. Her timing is spot on.

  Rick Bagley portrays the sometimes clueless Frank, who would rather talk about how crappy the paper is for next year's calendars then how much he loves Peggy and who believes "a day without ham is a day without sunshine". When the other couple who have also booked the cabin, Tony and Jill, arrive on the scene, he first tells them that "possession is 10/9th of the law" but then relents and invites them to stay. The fact that there is one bathroom, which unfortunately is only accessible via the bedroom which Frank lets the younger couple use, leads to some hilarious contrivances as he tries to awaken them so he can use the restroom. Rick is a master of facial expressions and imbues Frank with a myriad of emotions.

  Jonathan Keene is Tony the spoiled rich kid. He arrives in a sporty car with a trunk full of chilled champagne and $45 "TV" dinners. His lifestyle is in sharp contrast to Frank and Peggy whose relationship he finds boring and lackluster. He consistently refers to Frank as "old" which rankles him no end and causes Frank to challenge Tony to a race. Jonathan is believable in the role and becomes a more likeable guy by the end of the play.  

Tonya Free as Jill, Tony's live-in girlfriend, transitions nicely from a starry-eyed bimbo to a take charge "marry me or else" woman. Her change of heart from going along with the status quo to insisting Tony make a commitment is brought on by the strong relationship she sees evident in Peggy and Frank's marriage, something she wants too. Tonya instills what could be a wishy-washy role with sparkle and life.  

Stage Manager Olivia Sahlin keeps things moving along nicely. Director Tony Annicone has done a fine job with this excellent cast. The Newport Playhouse and Cabaret Restaurant boasts a bountiful buffet before the show and an entertaining cabaret after. The staff is helpful and attentive and there is plenty of free parking. For an evening of food, fun and laughs don't miss Weekend Comedy.

"Weekend Comedy" (30 May - 27 July)
NEWPORT PLAYHOUSE & CABARET RESTAURANT
@ 102 Connell Highway, NEWPORT RI
1(401)848-PLAY (7529)

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