Theatre Mirror Reviews-"Killjoy"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

entire contents copyright 2015 by Tony Annicone


A Review by Tony Annicone

Newport Playhouse's current production is "Killjoy", a romantic comedy thriller by Jerry Mayer who also wrote scripts for "The Facts of Life" and "MASH" on television. A woman, Carol is being driven crazy by her smarmy ex-husband, Victor and his new younger wife, Claudia. Carol and Victor's two children, Sonny and Vicki work at Victor's restaurant, Pasta Mondo. They are bullied and verbally abused by him. When Carol has a passionate affair with Victor's lawyer, Rick, they decide that Victor is a monster and must die. The twists and turns that follow these intriguing characters plus some witty and clever dialogue. Director Daniel Lee White picks the best performers for these roles and he also does the voiceover as a comic Irish priest. It will keep you guessing up till the very last minute of the performance.

Beautiful red head, Cathy Andreozzi plays the sympathetic ex-wife with gusto. She is a mother lioness, a single mother looking out for her children against all odds. From her opening scene where she is confessing her sins to an unseen priest even though she is Jewish to the love making scenes with Rick, to the argument scenes with Victor and Claudia, Cathy displays the strength needed to pull off this complex character. Her slapping of the lawyer a couple of times are laugh out loud moments. Tall, dark and handsome, Philip Clarke plays the bullying ex-husband who also controls his children by threatening to take their jobs away and by belittling them especially Sonny. He creates a man the audience hates. Philip plays this slimy, sleazebag who controls everyone by throwing his money around. By the end of the show Victor gets his but you won't know what it is until then. Philip oozes with a fake charm and bravado to get what he wants, making Victor despicable but amusing at the same time. One of his funniest lines is toward his son, "You have shit for brains."

Both Meredith Imbimbo and Richard Johnson bring their characters to life with their strong acting talents. Meredith plays Claudia, a young and ambitious second wife who is very promiscuous and calculating. She starts off as the blushing new bride but turns into a stronger more determined woman as the show progresses. One of her funniest lines is "She is the 19th hole." Richard plays Rick, a scheming, oily shark of a lawyer. He plays all parties against each other to get the upper hand. Is he working for Carol or Victor and what is his secret agenda? His love scenes with Cathy are marvelous and he has a funny scene where he drops his trousers leading to much merriment. Rick compares himself and Carol to Gatsby and Daisy.

The dysfunctional family also contains the put upon children, Sonny played by Graham Stokes and Vicki played by Brittany Brewer who turn out to be more mature than the adults at times. They also deliver the goods in this well written show. Graham has marvelous facial expressions and his physicality is topnotch. As Sonny, he is hilarious as he carries a heavy box or getting a door smashed into his nose. Graham handles the transition from weak depressed kid into a tower of strength by standing up to Victor to defend his mother. Brittney makes Vicki into a strong young woman who pushes her brother around but still wants to please her mother and father. Brittney has a strong stage presence and interacts with the whole cast with ease. Vicki gives her mother photos of her father to flush down the toilet. So for a twisting and turning thriller, be sure to catch "Killjoy" at the Newport Playhouse. The gorgeous set is by Tonya Free and hard working stage manager Olivia Sahlin keeps things running smoothly all night long. You will enjoy an all you can eat buffet before the show in the restaurant and a fun filled cabaret after the show. Be sure to order your tickets quickly before the show is all sold out. Tell them Tony sent you to enjoy their 32nd year of entertaining audiences.

"Killjoy" (18 June - 2 August)
@ 102 Connell Highway, NEWPORT RI

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide