Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Cemetery Club"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2004 by Tony Annicone

"The Cemetery Club"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The fourth show of The Players 95th season is Ivan Menchell's, "The Cemetery Club". The show is a comedy about three Jewish widows who meet once a month for tea before going to visit their husband's graves. Ida is sweet tempered, loves to bake cookies and is ready to begin a new life. Lucille is a feisty woman who just wants to have fun and flirts with the nearest man. Doris is prigish and judgmental especially when Sam, the butcher enters the scene. He meets the widows while visiting his wife Myrna's grave on their 30th anniversary. Doris and Lucille squash the budding romance between Ida and Sam and this nearly breaks Ida's heart. Throw in another lady friend of Sam's, Mildred and you have the makings for this cute little comedy with a little pathos thrown into it. Tom DiMaggio picks the best people for these roles and his stage manager, Mary Concannon and her crew change the scene from the living room of Ida's house and a cemetery in Forest Hills, Queens to keep the show in constant motion from start to finish.

The five performers handle their dialogue wonderfully.Marie Hennedy sparkles as Doris, delivering her funny lines with ease. She also handles the serious moments well in her interactions with the other members of her club. She is still grief stricken after four years and wants the others to remain with her in this closeknit group. Joan Dillenback plays Ida who finds love with Sam after her husband's death. She shows the warmth in the development of this relationship and the disappointment when her two girlfriends interfere in her budding romance. The third member of this club, Lucille is played by Patricia Luca. Her hot to trot attitude is a cover for an unhappy marriage. Patricia's many costumes add the comic touches to her character including a mink coat, hat and muff and especially the very short bridal outfit. Her closing speech is a poignant moment in this show. Lanny Slusher plays Sam who falls in love with Ida after much soul searching. He is pursued by Lucille but really wants to be with Ida. He delivers some funny lines but the niceness of his character comes through with his portrayal. The last member of this cast is Marcia Layden as Mildred. She makes the most of her stage time by being haughty when she thinks Ida is putting the moves on Sam and has a funny moment when she laughs for a long time at one of her jokes. So for a funny but touching show, be sure to catch, "The Cemetery Club". A word of praise for the bright pink bridal outfits by Gina Cacchiotti. To become a member of this theater club just call or email Lydia.

"The Cemetery Club" (24 - 28 March )
THE PLAYERS
Barker Playhouse, 400 Benefit Street, PROVIDENCE R I
1 (401) 273-0590

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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