Theatre Mirror Reviews - "COMMUNICATING DOORS"

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Note: Entire Contents Copyright 2016 by Tony Annicone


Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The Renaissance City Theatre Inc., the producing entity at the Granite Theatre's opening show of their 17th season is Alan Ayckbourn's "Communicating Doors", which is an intricate time-traveling comic thriller. A sex specialist from the future stumbles into a murder confession scenario with an addled old man and business partner. When she tries to escape from the hotel room via a closet door, she is transported back in time from 2037. The show is where regrets are reversed, past hurts are undone, mistakes are modified and murder gets a make over. Set in the same London hotel twenty years in the past in 1997, now in the present and twenty years in the future in 2037. "Communicating Doors" sends two heroines racing back and forth in time trying to rewrite history and change their destinies. The frantic race begins when Poopay, is hired for an evening at the Regal Hotel by the old man and when she exits through the door, it somehow triggers a time machine. What will happen to these two women? Will they change the course of history? Brian Olsen directs his six talented performers in a series of twists and turns of the plot in this show that will have you guessing till the end of the night.

Brian brings out the best in his performers in the many comic moments but it is the spectacular emotional twist at the end that gives it the punch and power it needs. Stage manager Anna Convery handles the magnificent lighting effects for the time changes so the audience knows what is happening. Sandy Simas Gaccione shines as the heroine of the show, Poopay which means doll in French. The character's real name is Phoebe. She wears a pink wig and a sexy leather outfit in this role in the first scene. The character sets off the time machine accidentally which leads to many funny situations in all three time periods. Sandy commands the stage as this tender hearted tart with a very poignant twist at the end of the show. Her cockney accent is flawless as is her terrific transition into a proper British accent latter on.Tom Steenburg plays the dastardly business partner, Julian. He plays the sinister part with an oily and smarmy charm. Tom adds many layers to this cad which holds the interest of the audience all night long. Keith Eugene Brayne is fabulous as Reece. He plays the doddering old man in his 70's then the bridegroom in the flashback. Keith has a marvelous poignant moment with Sandy near the end of the show. He usually plays farcical characters but this one has a dramatic twist which he handles perfectly

Playing Reece's second wife, Ruella is Veronica Strickland. She gives this character the strength and depth it needs, creating a commanding figure in the midst of the wild shenanigans that are happening and that she becomes involved with. Veronica displays the clever side of Ruella as she realizes that she needs to stop her being killed that very night. She shows spunk and feistiness in this role. Reece's first wife, Jessica is wonderfully played by Jane Mandes. Her character appears during her honeymoon with Reece scene which is a hoot. Jane plays the not as smart first wife who delivers a shocking twist of her own. I last reviewed her as Snoopy in "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" last year. Harold, the comic hotel detective is played wonderfully by Chris Maxwell. He earns many laughs in this role as he becomes involved with the wacky proceeding and adds to the merriment of the evening. So for a splendid contemporary play that delivers the goods with comic and dramatic moments, be sure to catch "Communicating Doors" in Westerly by the Renaissance City Theatre Inc. What a marvelous way to open their 17th season.

COMMUNICATING DOORS (17 March to 9 April)
Renaissance City Theatre Inc, Granite Theatre, 1 Granite Street, Westerly, RI
1(401)596-2341 or

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