Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Yankee Tavern"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2011 by Tony Annicone

"Yankee Tavern"

by Tony Annicone

The current show at Granite Theatre is "Yankee Tavern".Yankee Tavern is set in a careworn New York tavern run by Adam and his fiancee Janet. Adam is an international studies Masters Degree student who inherited the tavern and the condemned hotel above it when his father committed suicide. A long-time friend of Adam's father named Ray is a fixture at the bar and a sometime resident of the hotel. Ray spouts countless elaborate conspiracy theories on subject matters ranging from The Bay of Pigs to Starbucks coffee, and tells tales of nightly conversations with ghosts who live in the hotel. His latest focal point of conspiracy conjectures concerns the events surrounding 9/11. and he enjoys nothing more than a good debate on his conjectures. A quiet stranger named Palmer happens upon the bar, as Adam is about to embark on a trip to Washington DC with his professor. Even the most bizarre conspiracy theory is based on a fragment of truth. It is therefore inevitable that one of these theories would contain more truth than anyone may have expected, and becomes entangled in the lives of those who have examined it too closely. David Jepson directs the show splendidly obtaining stunning performances from himself and the other three members of his cast.

David also designed a gorgeous realistic barroom set for this show. "Yankee Tavern" is a comedy thriller that is a fierce, funny and ultimately mind-bending work of theatrical power that grips you until the final word of the show. Stage manager Beth Jepson keeps things running smoothly while Carrie Heise handles the lighting and sound cues for the show. David plays Ray who spouts conspiracy theories and about his ability to speak with the ghosts in the hotel. He delivers massive amounts of dialogue in the first act and is a hoot as this slightly off center character. John Payne plays Adam who is something of an enigma at first and then the audience learns about his relationship with Janet and his female professor who may or may not be trading US secrets to foreign powers during 9/11. John always delivers the goods in any role he portrays and this one is no exception. Rochelle Weinrach is terrific as Janet. She is a gorgeous brunette who has an electrifying scene with Palmer in the third scene of the show and a very moving poignant scene with Ray at the end of it. Rochelle usually plays comic or musical roles but this one shows off her dramatic prowess to its fullest. Jim Kenney is splendid as this mysterious character who might or might not have ulterior motives for being at the bar. He is very sinister and frightening in a scene with Rochelle in the second act. Jim makes a marvelous debut in this role at the Granite. It has many twists and turns to intrigue you till the final curtain. So for a fantastic contemporary show that is not strictly a comedy, be sure to catch this show that will keep you on the edge of your seat to the final moment.

"Yankee Tavern" (15 April - 8 May)
GRANITE THEATRE
@ 1 Granite Street, WESTERLY RI
(401)596-2341

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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