Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Catch A Falling Star"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2000 by Tony Annicone

"Catch A Falling Star"

Tony Annicone

This show takes place on the back porch of the Wakely home in Dewey, Texas during the summer of 1980. It is the 33rd birthday of Ginny(Erin Lee Sousa) and she has a secret to tell her family before the next issue of People magazine comes out revealing her sordid past. The Wakely's are a very dysfunctional family. The father, Darryl(Rob Reimer) is an alcholic, the mother, Virginia(Deb McGowan) is a strong willed Christian woman, the other daughter, Margaret Ann(Kelly Ann Maurice) is the sexy mother of Sherree(Tara Beaulieu) and is married to a Buddist Vietnam vet, Buzz(J Schaefer) who bears an uncanny resemblance to Jesus. These crazy characters lead the audience to laughter and tears during this play about this family from the deep south. Director Rob Reimer who also plays Darryl takes this dark comic play to topnotch performances by the whole cast. His direction and the maintenance of the Southern accent in all the characters is outstanding. Both the comic and dramatic moments get their due in this show. Rob brings out each person's strength with his direction and the tie in to the Wizard of Oz is superb, too. (Ginny says there's no place like home; she also dresses like Glinda from the movie in a white gown and a crown on her head; and the tornado in this show make the comparison between the two shows more apparent to the audience. His acting is also topnotch. The southerner who is a born again Christian but is still a bigot comes across loud and clear in Rob's portrayal. His drunken scene is very funny at first but leads to disaster in the end.
Bravo on a job well done!

Erin Lee Sousa is wonderful as the southern belle turned porno star to support her drug habit of the past. She makes the character vulnerable especially in the scenes with her strong willed mother. Erin also shows Ginny's strength when she and her sister finally have a cat fight to put an end to their sibling rivalry. The emotions of innocence despite her earlier transgressions and the hurt, anger and saddness that take place is well played by this young actress. Good job in a difficult role especially because the role of a porno star getting an audience's sympathy for her plight is very rare indeed but Erin does it beautifully.

Another outstanding performance is given by Deb McGowan as the strongwilled and overbearing mother, Virginia. This woman who looks like a young Audrey Meadows and delivers her lines like Dixie Carter (Julia on Designing Women) is a powerhouse on stage. Her comic timing is as perfect as her dramatic ones. Deb's relationship with the other characters in potraying a much older person is always right on the money, too. The shower cap and her peppermint candy outfits are a hoot. Great job!

Kelly Ann Maurice's strong portrayal as the overlooked daughter is wonderful. This girl not only looks great in hotpants but can also act up a storm as well. Her spitfire character agrues with everyone in the show. Kelly also shows her warm side in her talks with her daughter, Sheree. She has many funny and sexy innuendoes but my favorite line is "Ambrosia is better than sex". This is said after you find out she and her husband haven't been intimate in a long time. The catfight scene is another standout moment in the show. Wonderful job.

Tara Beaulieu is the youngest person on the stage but she more than holds her own with the older actors around her telling her mother, father, grandmother and grandfather off. She plays an inquistive girl wanting to know what porno means but she grows up fast after she hears about how her mother was pregnant with her before marriage. Tara is a very talented young girl who can do comedy as well as drama(she played Hodel in "Fiddler") Keep your eye on Tara, she is going to go far in theater.

Last but not least J Schaefer plays Buzz, the laid back Vietnam vet who has seen death and destruction closeup. He helps Ginny realize the inner peace of being home is being comfortable with yourself. You have to let go off past misdeeds and love yourself in the present moment. J's similarity to Jesus leads to another comical moment in the show when the lights are out and Virginia thinks she has seen the Lord. J's scene at the end when he makes up with his wife and hugs his daughter gives his character the warmth the audience needs to understand Buzz. J also choreographed the catfight which is very realistic. If anyone has ever had a fight with a sibling they can understand and relate to this fight scene. Very dramatic and powerful! A final word of praise to Matt Siravo, (producer) Jeff Oates,(chef) and the cabaret, cast Donald, Tara, Michael D., Patti, Michael V., Erin, Jim & Sandi for giving the audience a night of fun and enjoyment. (The title of this play comes from the song "Catch a Falling Star" made famous by Perry Como many years ago.)

"Catch A Falling Star" (till 29 October)
THE NEWPORT PLAYHOUSE AND CABARET RESTAURANT
104 Connell Highway, NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND
1(401) 848-PLAY


THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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