Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Breaking Legs"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2002 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 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 student is a lusty, unwed woman who has a major crush on the professor. Her "family" turns out to be three Mafia godfathers who are involved with the untimely death of a thug associate. 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, Angie's father. He casts all the roles very well with each one fitting their parts to a tee and his stage manager, George Roach keeps things running smoothly, 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 eat their way through an entire meal discussing the play with the professor while offering their expertise on showbiz. One of the funniest moments of the show is when the three Mafia dons burst into a chorus of "Tomorrow". (Matt also chooses appropriate change of scene music with "My Way" and "Strangers in the Night". The former is played after the accident happens and the latter after the two lovers unite for the first time.)

Veteran actor, Bing McGrath plays Uncle Mike who always has problems with his stomach but still eats hot peppers and meatballs while guzzling wine. Bing plays the head gangster with ease while delivering his many humorous lines. The slurping of the soup and the blessing of themselves when they mention so and so should rest in piece are comic standout moments. His righthand man, Tino is played by Reggie Roussel who makes his debut onstage in this role. Reggie really delivers the goods in this role as the intimidating and threatening thug who also knows about showbiz. The mafiosi in this show are a laugh riot.

The two lovers in this show are played by Camille Terilli and Nishan Lawton. Camille is fantastic as the strong willed Angie, commanding the scenes with her strong stage presence. Her seduction scene of the professor is hilarious as she wraps her legs around his neck while in the restaurant booth. Camille has many funny lines but one of the funniest is when she threatens her father with leaving home by saying she won't lose her man to "that man eating bitch". This threat shows the three men who is control of the situation. Nishan plays the playwright with the necessary strength of character but also brings out the comic side, too. He handles the love scene as well as the drunk and eating scenes very well. Both Nishan and Camille have a lot of chemistry together and with other cast members, too.

Rounding out the cast is Kyle Medeiros as the nervous thug, Frankie Salvucci. He shakes and quakes when being questioned where the missing money is.The funnniest bit is when he keeps trying to light his cigarette with a lighter while his hands are shaking uncontrolably. Kyle's line delivery and comic antics while keep the laughter going. So for a fantastic evening of virtual nonstop laughter, be sure to catch this expert delivery of "Breaking Legs".

( A special word of praise to set builder Gene Dufault and his gorgeous restaurant set as well as to costumer Veronica Mays for her Mafia clothes and other colorful outfits in this show. )

"Breaking Legs" (4 October - 17 November)
THE NEWPORT PLAYHOUSE
104 Connell Highway, NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND
1 (401) 848-7529

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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