Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Lovers And Other Strangers"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

entire contents copyright 2004 by Tony Annicone

"Lovers And Other Strangers"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Newport Playhouse's current show is Renee Taylor and Joseph Bologna's comedy, "Lovers and Other Strangers". The show is a series of 4 vignettes. The first opens in a girl's apartment at 4 A.M. when her fiancee arrives to tell her he is a nervous wreck and can't go through with the wedding. She gently leads the way back to the wedding route. The second shows a young man who starts to seduce a lady, only to have the tables turned on him. The third involves a married couple who can't figure out whose turn it is to commence love making. In the last, a couple who have fought for the 33 years of their married life, try to save their son's marriage by confessing their own failings their son and his wife. Director Matt Siravo keeps the pace of this show flowing and keeps the laughter coming a mile a minute as he and his other 9 cast members do one of the best renditions of this show I have ever seen.

Nishan Lawton opens the show as Mike, the manic bridegroom to be. He gives this role the many layers it needs to be interesting and keeps the high energy from start to finish of this 10 minute scene. Jamie Sousa plays the patient level headed bride to be who is awakened by her panic stricken beau. She listens to him ranting and raving and finally asks him calmly about the tuxedo rentals, bringing him the calmness to think clearly. A wonderful opening to these four segments. Jason Heywood is gangbusters as he opens the next scene. He takes on the persona of a he-man animal magnet player who hops into bed with every girl he meets on a Saturday night. His horny character Jerry sends his latest girl, Brenda into the bathroom as he sets the mood for seduction. He sprays airfreshener on the sofa, under arms, on his crotch and in his bed. Jerry turns on music and turns the lights down low but Brenda keeps him off balance by spouting these clever philosophies she has learned from the many books she has read. Alicia plays this sexy but clever woman beautifully. Jason and Alicia's characters take turns throwing the other on the sofa and on the bed to start the half hour romance off but ends up stopping to say some clever lines. One funny line she uses is he is a slave to his erections and he should stop and take time to get to know a girl first. Another well done scene with Jason as a master of comic timing and Alicia matching him line for line, keeping the audience laughing constantly.

The third comic segment is about a couple who seemingly have trouble relating to each other after being married for awhile. Kyle Medeiros and Patty Mott play Johnny and Wilma wonderfully. Their dialogue is extremely comical and they both make the most of all their funny lines. One of the funniest lines is his having three minute intercourse with his old girlfriends while the jumping up and down and fighting on the bed is hilarious as Kyle wins that fight but does he win the war? You have to see this excellent scene to find out the answer. (Kyle and Patty have done many shows together and it shows by their being comfortable with each other on stage.)

The final segment stars the director, Matt Siravo as Frank and Sandra Nicastro as Bea, his wife of 33 years. They are fantastic in their roles and will have you rolling in the aisles with laughter. Matt's voice and mannerisms as this Italian father are splendid and he interacts with the others perfectly. Sandra is a comic gem as Bea. Her line delivery, her walking as a much older woman and her magnificent facial expressions show what a talented comedienne she is. Sandra has one of the funniest lines in the show which brings multitudes of laughter to the audience as she explains to her daughter-in-law that having sex with your husband is his sacred erotic right. Matt and Sandra are perfect as this long married couple and work marvelously off each other. Jonathan Perry is their beloved son, Richie whom they dote on and want to save his marriage. Jonathan's reactions to his crazy parents are right on the money and he delivers his funny lines with ease. Last but not least is Lisa Reimer as Joan. She gives this role the pathos needed to make you feel sorry for her as she reacts to Bea's sad story. Lisa also handles the comic aspect of the role well, too. A very well acted closing scene of this show. So for a laugh riot from start to finish, be sure to catch, "Lovers and Other Strangers" at the Newport Playhouse. Just tell them Tony sent you.Be sure to stick around for the after the show cabaret, too. A word of praise to set designer, Russell Budlong for his wonderful unit set of bedroom and living on the upper level and a kitchen setting on the lower level and to Sue Raposa for her fantastic and sumptious buffet before the show especially her pot roast which is my favorite.

"Lovers And Other Strangers" (14 May - 18 June)
104 Connell Highway, NEWPORT R I
1 (401)848-PLAY

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide