Theatre Mirror Reviews-"Cheaters"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

entire contents copyright 2015 by Tony Annicone

is a Winner!

A Review by Kevin Francis

The Newport Playhouse and Cabaret Restaurant presents another comedic gem with its production of “Cheaters” . Directed by Tony Annicone this play tells the story of two sets of Cheating parents, one set longtime lovers and the others a one time fling. As we grow to learn more about the cheating pairs, we meet a young couple contemplating marriage, who end up getting very confusing advice from the cheating pairs. Annicone directs the cast with ease and comfort, the dialogue is delivered with perfect timing and the sight gags keep the show moving along at an even clip.

The first couple we meet is Howard and Monica, played by Rick Bagley and Michelle Brennan respectively. Bagley and Brennan are handed the most difficult roles in the play, the outright Cheaters with no visible remorse for their actions. Playwright Michael Jacobs makes it difficult to like these characters at first, as they are so disrespectful of their significant others it seems as if Jacobs wants them to be disliked. However, Bagley and Brennan have such an excellent command and ease with their characters they seem not like one dimensional villains, but real people. Bagley’s comedic ease with his dialogue and marvelous facial expressions make it easy to laugh, and Michelle Brennan has such playful fun with her mischievous and at times malicious dialogue that you have to laugh as well.

Next week meet Jim and Cindy Killavey, real life husband and wife, playing the characters of Grace and Sam. Grace and Sam are much easier to like as they are shy and reluctant in their misbehavior, and terribly amusing when feeling guilty. Cindy Killavey’s antics with the Bible had the audience rolling in the aisles. Meanwhile, Jim Killavey matches her laugh for laugh with his comedic storytelling and charm. The married duo do a wonderful job at making the audience believe they have just met, with their wide eyed innocence and witty banter the audience can not help but root for them.

The final pair is the young couple, children of the aforementioned philandering parents, Allen and Michelle. Allen is played with confidence and demure by Jacob Davis, and he has an easy chemistry with the lovely and talented Meredith Imbimbo. This is Meredith's second role with the playhouse after being seen in “When The Cats Away”, but Cheaters is a significantly more challenging role and Meredith more than meets the challenge. Davis and Imbimbo have a playful ease and comfort with each other, and both handle the comedy and the conflict like all stars.

After we have met the three couples there a several more scenes before the finale, but they all are just appetizers for the main course. The final dinner scene where the two sets of parents meet and realize they know each other is teased throughout the show, and it is full of comedy gold in the end. From the running scared Sam (Jim Killavey), to the fabulously drunk Monica (Brennan), the cast shifts into high gear for the final scene. Anchored by the emotional conflict between the Allen (Davis) and Michelle (Imbimbo), the parents dance a whirlwind of comedy around them until the final cresc

endo. One of the most amazing things about Cheaters is the use of it’s set, which has to represent two different hotel rooms, an apartment, and the living rooms of two separate houses. Production Manager and Set Designer Tonya Free does a fabulous job pulling it all together. She creatively uses a Murphy Bed, Set Dressings, Curtains and intelligent layout to make each location separate and unique.

Be sure to check out “Cheaters” at the Newport Playhouse for sure fire laughs, running till June 14th. Call 401-848-7529 (PLAY) for Tickets and more information!

"Cheaters" (7 May - 14 June)
@ 102 Connell Highway, NEWPORT RI

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide