Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Sunshine Boys"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2007 by Tony Annicone

"The Sunshine Boys"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The second show of Theatre Works 25th season is Neil Simon's "The Sunshine Boys". The year is 1972 and two cranky vaudevillians, Willie Clark and Al Lewis who were known as The Sunshine Boys, are asked to reunite for a CBS comedy special. They were a team for 43 years and haven't seen each other in 11 years. The show is an expertly written take on how funny vaudeville was. Their Doctor sketch is a perfect example of split second timing and comic delivery. Director Sharon Charette casts the two leads perfectly, to keep the audience laughing all night long and obtains comic moments from the rest of her cast, too. This is her first time as a director but she excels at costume numerous shows, too.

Every bit of humor hits pay dirt, from the one liners, the timing and the shtick. The main set is Willie's tacky hotel apartment in NYC while the doctor's sketch is played on a storyboard set that folds together to create the TV studio. The bickering of the two partners is hilarious. Bert Cayer plays the huge role of Willie Clark wonderfully. He is onstage almost the whole time while delivering scads of humorous one liners done with a Jewish accent and topnotch facial expressions. The character loves corned beef sandwiches and cigars which leads into a funny heart attack segment. The best scene in the show is the vaudeville segment about a doctor, his big boobed nurse and a taxman. Mark Anderson who also designed and built the set, plays Al Lewis. He garners many laughs along the way while poking Willie in the chest and spraying him with spit as he pronounces words with t in them. Connie Anderson plays Willie's long suffering and kindly, niece, Jen who visits him every Wednesday. She buys him Variety, cigars and low sodium soups. Connie is a well seasoned stage actress and obtains laughter while mimicing Willie as well as with her comic timing and delivery. Tina Brouillette-Smith is a hoot as the big boobed nurse with a cute bubble butt in the tiniest white latex mini skirt ever seen on any stage. Also Lisa Forsgard is hilarious as the strong willed nurse who constantly eats Willie's candy. She takes a bite to see what kind it is and throws it back into the Whitman Sampler box. Rounding out the cast is Lisa's real life husband, Chris Kibbe who plays the Doctor's patient in the sketch and Mary Concannon as Edie, the stage manager for this sketch as well as for the entire show. So for a look at a very funny comedy by Neil Simon, be sure to catch "The Sunshine Boys" before time runs out.

"The Sunshine Boys" (23 November - 2 December)
THEATRE WORKS
142 Clinton Street, WOONSOCKET RI
1 (401)766-1898

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