Theatre Mirror Reviews-"Almost, Maine"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2015 by Tony Annicone

"Almost, Maine"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The last show of The Players 106th season is "Almost, Maine" by John Cariani. The show is nine vignettes exploring love as well as the joy and perils of romance. Cariani employs elements of magical realism as he explores the mysteries of the human heart.Welcome to Almost, Maine, a town that's so far north that it's almost in Canada. And it almost doesn't exist. because its residents never got around to getting organized. So its Almost.On a Friday night in the middle of winter, residents of a small, mythical town in far northern Maine are falling in and out of love at an alarming rate. Knees are getting bruised; hearts are getting broken, but the bruises heal and hearts almost mend in what can be described as a charming midwinter night's dream. Director Roger Lemelin assembles a topnotch cast of nineteen to carry out these funny roles earning them a thunderous ovation at the close of the night.

Roger thinks up many clever bits and lots of physical comedy for his cast to perform in this well written script. Each of the nine segments contain two characters. Roger gives each member of his cast to shine in their scenes with a lot of slapstick but they play each of the characters realistically. The title of the vignettes are "Her Heart","This Hurts", "Sad and Glad", "Getting It Back", "Where It Went", "They Fell", "Story of Hope" and "Seeing Things." Pete and Ginette are the only recurring characters in the play, appearing in the first and last scene. They show that they will go the distance to make their love last. The northern lights are by Ruth Fagin while the unit set is by Dan Clement.

I don't want to give away too much of the plot of each scene which will ruin it for the audience. There are some funny one liners in the show including my parents moved south to Vermont. The performers do topnotch work in their roles. Some of the crazy shenanigans include the talkative, slightly crazy hiker (Liz Messier) who camps out in the backyard of a stranger (David Adams Murphy) to mend a broken heart, sledding pals who are the patient sweetheart (Alvaro Beltran) and the tomboy (Rebecca Kline) who fights him where they do a striptease that has to be seen to be believed, a ditsy blonde (Carole Collins) who finally commits to her childhood love, getting a surprise in an emotion packed scene. Walter Cotter plays a man in the blonde scene.Other predicaments include where a girl (Ashley Moore) hits a man (Michael Shallcross) with an ironing board because he doesn't feel pain, teaching him to feel for the first time in his life.

  Jad Saab beautifully plays a nervous workman who runs into his ex-girlfriend (Kristen Wedel) and the tattoo on his arm that leads him to another girl. Stephanie Post plays a waitress in this scene. Michael Pugliese is a weary married man who goes skating with his wife played by Kathleen Povar while waiting for the other shoe to drop. Charles Sweigart plays a seemingly clueless boyfriend and Kathleen Moore Ambrosini plays his girlfriend who realize they love each other. One of the funniest scenes occurs at the start of Act 2 when the two guy buddies who discover they're falling all over the place in love after their girlfriends dump them. The two buddies are well played by Dennis Bouchard and Sandy Remington. A touching one is of the girl, Linda Succi who walks around the world to be with the man she loves who is played by Jack O'Keefe. So for a fun filled night of enjoying a new comedy, be sure to catch "Almost, Maine" at the Players.  The power of this cast wins them a standing ovation at the end of the show.To join this theatre club, give Bill Applegate a call.

"Almost, Maine" (8 - 17 May)
THE PLAYERS
@ 400 Benefit Street, PROVIDENCE MA
1(401)273-0590

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