Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Breaking Legs"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2009 by Tony Annicone

"Breaking Legs"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The current show at the Newport Playhouse is the very funny, "Breaking Legs". The setting is an Italian restaurant in a small New England university town where the worlds of the Mafia and theatre clash hilariously with each other. A professor/playwright seeks funding for his new play from a former student's family. The former student is a lusty, unwed woman who has a major crush on and is hot for the professor. Her ''family'' turns out to be three Mafia godfathers who are involved with the untimely death of a thug associate. When the playwright learns about the "accidental" killing, his bubble is burst when he finds out his backers are gangsters.The hilarious antics of all the characters under the direction of Matt Siravo will lead the audience in gales of laughter from start to finish when you finally find out the woman of the house really rules the roost.

Not only does Matt direct this show but he plays the role of Lou Graziano, Angie's father. He casts all the roles very well with each one fitting their parts to a tee and his stage manager, Henryce Zaninni keeps things running smoothly all night long, too. As Lou, Matt controls everyone and everything in his life except his strong willed daughter. He gives the part the humor it needs and the warmth with Angie comes through in all their scenes. Matt and his two sidekicks have various specials of the day brought to their table while discussing the play with the professor while offering their expertise on showbiz. (Which is none but they are the money men so their word counts.) One of the funniest moments of the show is when the three Mafia dons break out into a chorus of "Tomorrow". Lou mangles the English language a couple of times when he says the statue of limitations is up. The two lovers in this show are Camille Terilli and Nishan Lawton. Camille is a beautiful redhead who is fantastic as the strong willed, Angie,commanding her scenes with her strong stage presence. She makes the three Mafia dons do her bidding throughout the show and one of her strongest scenes is when she runs roughshod over them near the end of the show. One of her funniest lines comes during an argument with her father when she threatens to leave home if they don't accept the script the way it is and says she won't lose her man to "that man eating bitch". The seduction of the professor is hilarious as she wraps her legs around his neck and she moans in orgasmic delight as he rubs her feet. Angie also yells at Terry saying wakes aren't life. Nishan is topnotch as Terence O'Keefe, the serious hard working professor who finally stands up to the hoodlums when they want to rewrite his play into the "Student Prince" or add a fat niece, Carmela playing the accordion to the script. He has a comic drunken scene in the second act when he drinks everyone's shot of booze which is a hoot. Then when Angie convinces him that he truly loves her, he sweeps her offstage to have his way with her on the Castro convertible couch in her office. The professor tries to bargain with the hoods but it is Angie who saves the day. Both Camille and Nishan have a lot of chemistry together and with the other cast members, too.

Ed Carusi plays Uncle Mike Francisco who always has problems with his stomach but still orders hot peppers and meatballs while guzzling wine. He reminds you of Joe Pesci and wears a wig that makes him look him,too. Ed plays the head gangster with ease while delivering his many humorous lines. His funny laugh and the blessing of themselves when they mention so and so should rest in peace are comic standout moments. His right hand man, Tino DeFelice is played by Fred Davison who also designed and built the gorgeous restaurant set with Jonathan Perry . He delivers the goods in this role as the intimidating and threatening thug who also knows about show business. His funniest line is when he says that the playwright's graphic murder scenes in his play makes his blood run cold and the professor is probably a secret hit-man. The mafiosi in this show are a laugh riot. Rounding out the cast is Kyle Medeiros as the nervous thug, Frankie Salvucci. He tries to smooth talk his way out of paying the hoodlums off. Kyle shakes and quakes when being questioned where the missing money is and his huge eyes at being frightened by the thugs is reminiscent of the cook in the Three Stooges films. His funniest bit is when he tries to light a cigarette with a lighter but can't do it because his hand is shaking uncontrollably. His line delivery and comic antics will keep the laughter going on. So for a fantastic evening of dinner before the show prepared by Sue Raposa with delicious meals of all you can eat food, a hilarious show and a fun filled cabaret, be sure to catch this expert delivery of "Breaking Legs".

"Breaking Legs" (27 May - 12 July)
NEWPORT PLAYHOUSE
104 Connell Highway, NEWPORT RI
1 (401) 848-PLAY

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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