Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Jake's Women"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2007 by Tony Annicone

"Jake's Women"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Mill River Players' current show is Neil Simon's, "Jake's Women" where Simon makes a foray into the world of modern relationships. It takes place in the 1980's and is about Jake, a novelist who is more successful with fiction than with life. He faces a marital crisis by daydreaming about the women in his life, past and present. The sometimes comic and moving flashbacks played in his mind are interrupted by visitations from the actual females. Jake's women include Julie, a revered first wife who was killed years earlier in an automobile accident, his daughter, Molly at age 12 and age 21, Karen, his boisterous and bossy sister, Edith, an opinionated analyst, Maggie, his current wife who is on the verge of leaving Jake for another man and Sheila, a prospective third wife. Jake suffers a nervous breakdown and eventually learns you must forgive those we love before we forgive ourselves. Bill McMillan directs this Neil Simon show which is a mixture of comic and poignant moments. Add a scrumptious dinner before this show and you have the makings for an entertaining evening.

Playing the enormous role of Jake is veteran actor, Richard Wilber. He never leaves the stage in this two hour and fifty minute two act play. Richard handles the massive amounts of dialogue and monologues with ease. He interacts with the audience several times during the show eliciting laughs along the way. Patricia Bamford makes her stage debut as Maggie, Jake's second wife. She is a very pretty red head who tackles one of the most serious roles in the show. Three of the biggest scene stealers in this show are Janet Schmidt as Karen, Alice Springer as Edith and Hilary Miller as Sheila. They have some of Simon's best lines and they make each of them hit pay dirt. Janet gets to wear many wacky outfits as Jake's sister while Alice spouts psychological banter with sexual innuendos. Hilary plays the baffled new girlfriend who gets frightened off by Jake's delusional behavior. The most poignant role in the show is Julie, Jake's first wife played beautifully by Sara Calia. Her touching moments with Richard are lovely but the scene which brings tears to your eye is the scene with 17 year old Emily Maher as her daughter, Molly. Both actresses show strength in this scene with their acting prowess and topnotch line delivery. Hannah Schott also does a wonderful job as the younger Molly in her scenes with Richard. Chris Horta does the voice of Jake in the show. Artistic director and head chef Chuck PetitBon cooks the delicious meals for the dinner shows. The meal consists of all you can eat chicken vegetable soup, warm freshly made Italian bread, carrots and string beans, oven roasted white and sweet potatoes with Italian seasonings, and an apple turnover with caramel sauce. There are various entrees and for this show I had the stuff chicken breast with brown gravy. So for a fine evening of dinnertainment, be sure to catch Mill River Players' current show.

"Jake's Women" (21 April - 20 May)
MILL RIVER PLAYERS
499 High Street, CENTRAL FALLS RI
1 (401) 721-0909

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

| MARQUEE | USHER | SEATS | INTERMISSION | CURTAIN |