Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Coping"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2004 by Tony Annicone

"Coping"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Mill River Dinner Theater's current show is Jack Sharkey and David Reiser's musical revue "Coping". The show is a tongue in cheek look at how people cope with various things that happen in their lives. How do you cope with your daughter bringing home swains whose purple hair doesn't quite hide their earrings? Or with fickle lovers, your husband's other woman, sojourns in the hospital, early retirement, a fiancee whose hobby is stealing cars or with any problem one has to face. This show covers these problems with 24 songs in two acts with 3 performers, 1 man and 2 women. So after a fantastic home cooked meal by director/producer/chef Chuck PetitBon sit back for some laughs at daily life told in songs by this energetic cast and accompanied by music director, Dan Zabinski at the keyboard.

Chuck's excellent entrees for dinner consist of chicken, haddock, roast beef, ham and vegetable lasagne. The stuffed halibut melts in your mouth as does the carrots and string beans and Louisiana style white and sweet potatoes. This comes with all the rolls you can eat and a delicious salad with vinegarette dressing plus a lucious strawberry shortcake for dessert. Chuck's three performers are Diane Petit, Bob Levetin and Judy Alpert who has been performing since she was 3 years old. The various songs range from country western to jazzy blues and take off on some musical standards. Diane's soprano voice soars in "More Husband Less Money" about a 62 year old husband's retirement, "Get Well Soon" about an unpleasant stay in the hospital and the jazzy "You Can't Cry Forever". Bob's tenor voice sells his songs which include "A Wanderin' Fool" which sounds like Ragtime Joe, "In My Fancy Suit" which is a take off on Irving Berlin's "Puttin' On the Ritz and "Rock Real Slow" about an 80 year old rock star singing in his rocking chair with the girls as his back up singers. Judy handles the mezzo numbers including "Taste-less Love" which is about her boyfriend Alvin who likes gourmet food which she hates but she stays with him because he's a millionaire, a Sondheim type number called "It's Academic" which rhymes constantly and a very funny song called "Finesse" where her boyfriend steals cars and gives her scars. The group number harmonies are lovely especially in "Coping", "Daddy I Love Him" and "Opening". The acting is wonderful especially when they try to upstage each other and try to improv the last scene when a costume doesn't fit. So for a cute, lighthearted and fun evening be sure to catch this musical revue with a delectable meal before the show in an airconditioned dinner theater.

"Coping" (12 June - 11 July)
MILL RIVER DINNER THEATER
499 High Street, CENTRAL FALLS R I
1 (401) 721-0909

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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