Note: Entire Contents Copyright 2017 by Tony Annicone
Linda obtains the best from her cast while they seemingly eat and drink through every scene in the show. The excellent unit set is by Katryne Hecht while the 1980's and 90's costumes are by Marcia Zammarelli. Gabe and Karen are excellently played by Joe DeLeo and Lauren Pothier. They capture the pretentious nature of this couple of gourmets who have a solid 12 year marriage with minor ups and downs along the way. Their gestures and movements as they constantly serve food and drink is terrific. They act like a long married couple in the show but in the flashback to 12 years ago, displays their playful and sexual natures to the audience as they set up their separate friends to meet. During the angst of their friends break-up, Gabe and Karen first line up along gender lines but later on when they learn information from Tom and Beth, they are no longer sure. In the last scene when they are alone in their bedroom, they are forced to wonder when the living of their hectic every day lives replaced the joy of loving each other.
Victor Neto and Mary Arnold play Tom and Beth beautifully as they capture the anger and resentment of their split up which leads to an hilarious sexual encounter. During the flashback, they capture the innocence of the past as we watch these diverse individuals become a couple, knowing what there future will be. Later on in the show Beth tells of meeting an old friend and is determined to marry him. She also reveals a secret past with him and lets her resentment toward Karen to surface. Tom is ecstatically happy with his new paramour and confides things to Gabe who is unable to accept them. All four performers capture the essence of their roles and draw you into what happens with ease. So for some marvelous acting in a thought provoking contemporary show, be sure to catch "Dinner With Friends" at Rhode Island College Theatre.