Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Men Are Dogs"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


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entire contents copyright 2011 by Tony Annicone

"Men Are Dogs"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone


Reviewed by Tony Annicone The current show at Granite Theatre is "Men Are Dogs" by Joe Simonelli. Dr. Cecilia Monahan, a successful unorthodox psychologist runs a support group for single and divorced women. She's got troubles of her own with a mother constantly urging her to remarry, but it's her ensemble of neurotic patients who provide the action when a "volunteer" role-player becomes the hapless victim of their not-inconsiderable ire. Cecilia hires a bartender/actor to role play men in the difficult moments in the lives of her group members. This process can be rather dangerous for the actor, as he faces the group of hostile women who are eager to express their anger toward men. As the story unfolds, Dr. Monahan realizes she shares some of the same issues about men as her group members. When she meets the new substitute postal carrier, Bob Crowley, who delivers more than mail, the smitten Cecelia must learn to practice what she preaches. One must not give up on relationships is the moral of the story. Director Brian Olsen picks topnotch performers for these eight roles, leading to many laughs and a thunderous ovation at curtain call.

Brian gives each performer clever comic bits to perform and defines their characters so they are easily distinguished from each other. He is aided in his task by hard working stage manager, Greg Bliven while Brian also runs the lights and sound. The gorgeous living room set is by David Jepson. The author's script is cleverly written and mixes comic moments with some serious ones especially about not giving up on relationships. It has many twists and turns in it and I don't want to give away too much of the plot to spoil it for the audience. Amy Buckley does a wonderful job in a major role as the psychologist who not only helps her patients but learns a valuable lesson, too. Her therapy sessions with her patients are hilarious and well written and when she says she wants a man with a big penis over and over, it kept the audience in stitches. Her funniest scene is the drunken one with John Payne. He and John Pescatello are the hapless men who are shaghaied by the women. John Pescatello as Tony has an excellent Brooklyn accent, is tossed around the stage and beaten up by the women, gets a black eye while all the gals seem to adore John Payne's character of Bob Crowley. He seems to know how to say the right thing at the right time. Bob finally tells Cecilia about what men expect in a relationship. Christine Reynolds plays Rose, Cecilia's mother. She has many funny lines including about in her day you just took a valium and hoped for the best, her new love interest has a big spatula as well as eavesdropping on her daughter's sessions while washing the laundry.

Cecilia's patients are hoots in their roles. Susanne Colle plays Madeline, the literary agent who has a terrific crying scene in therapy, Ann Gestrich who makes her acting debut as Jane, plays a dim bulb who's last boyfriend was a bank robber, Judy George who also makes her acting debut as Loretta, plays the tough broad who loves cops and beats the crap out of Tony and Felicia Gonzalez Brown is terrific as Allison, the young hairdresser who falls in love with men whose names begin with the letter B and she plays a waitress in the role playing scene, thrusting her boobs in Tony's face. Brian gives them each their moment to shine in their roles. So for a funny contemporary comedy with some lessons to learn, be sure to catch "Men Are Dogs" at Granite Theatre.

"Men Are Dogs" (9 September - 2 October)
@ 1 Granite Street, WESTERLY RI

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide