Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Forty Carats"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

entire contents copyright 2003 by Tony Annicone

"Forty Carats"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The latest show at the Granite Theatre is the 1968 comedy, "Forty Carats". The show is about Ann Stanley, a 40 year old divorcee whose car breaks down in Greece. She is assisted by a 22 year old motorcyclist, Peter Latham who shows Ann the romantic nature of Greece. Back in New York where Ann runs a lucrative real estate business, she runs into problems with her mother, 17 year old wild daughter and ex-husband. She is also courted by a handsome, rich Southern client. However, one day Peter shows up at her apartment as a friend of her daughter and the attraction between Ann and Peter is as strong as it was in Greece. The show has many twists and turns to it but under the deft direction of Arthur Pignataro, his hard working 11 member cast keeps you entertained all night long.

Not an easy show to do because it has three interior sets, this challenge is overcome with ease by Arthur and his set designer, David Jepson. A backdrop of Greece is used in the first scene with a fold out set built behind it on stage right for the real estate office and when the walls of the office are folded together it becomes Ann's plush NY apartment. But it is Arthur's strong casting of the roles that carries the show off so well. Maria Sepe Tavorozzi handles the enormous role of Ann Stanley, the reluctant 40 year old who hesitates making a commitment to this younger man after two unsuccessful marriages. She also contends with a strong willed bossy matchmaker mother and her equally as strong willed wild daughter, Trina who likes to dress provocatively in some of the shortest skirts ever seen on any stage. Maria captures the confusion of this woman who is madly in love but does not want to admit it. She has great chemistry with her fellow performers and really shines in her scenes with her ex-husband and current lover. Wonderful job in this demanding role. Her young boyfriend is played by Sean Cohane who makes his first appearance at the Granite but has many other impressive credits including roles on "The Gilmore Girls" and "Titus" on TV and as an assistant producer for "Entertainment Tonight". He creates a winning portrayal of this earnest young man who longs to be with the woman he truly loves, oblivious to their age differences. Sean plays the romantic scenes with Maria beautifully especially good are their kissing scenes which can look awkward on stage but in this case are handled with ease. The third character who seems to be always involved with their problems and lives is Ann's ex played wonderfully by Jude Pescatello. A tall man with matinee idol looks, Jude fits the bill as Billy Boylan, an actor who is always down on his luck and needs Ann's financial help. He gives his scenes the energy, this crazy madcap character needs and these three actors play well together.

Veteran actress Carol Forrest is a hoot as Granny Maud who wears her granddaughters earrings, tights and expensive perfume. Maud realizes Peter comes from a very wealthy family and is impressed by the status of such. Maud meddles in Ann and Trina's love lives with comic results. Carol does a great job in this comic role. Trina is played by tall, voluptuous Kimberly Ligouri who wears many tight and sexy outfits. She does a great job as the bratty daughter who tells Ann how to run her life and makes a very surprising choice of a finacee herself. The rich client, Eddy Edwards is played by David Hicks who does a perfect Western accent and spouts many funny oneliners including one not knowing shit about interior decorating. He charms all the ladies but makes a shocking revelation to Ann that turns the show in an unexpected direction. David makes this larger than life character a comic one.

There are many other comedic characters in this show, too. Ann's long suffering know it all secretary is played wonderfully by Mary Sue Chiaradio. Her lines sparkle especially when she tells Ann what to do both in her personal and business life. Mary Sue handles the overbearing Billy with ease and her put downs of him are laugh out loud. Her real life husband Michael makes his stage debut playing a cadlike lecher in the show and doing it as well as a pro.( He also is the stage manager and keeps the set changes moving,too.)Peter's parents are played by Dan Adams as the gruff father and Sharon Miceli as the wealthy mother. She has the more comic role of the two and her description of her father and husband is priceless as are her unintentional faux pas with Ann. Once again the author throw in an unusual curve in this scene, too which produces hilarious results. Rounding out the cast is Lori Brown who plays an annoying client in the first scene who likes to hang around the office waiting for the best buys in NYC.

An added treat on opening night is the delicious food prepared by Irene Bessette. This time she made a delicious wedding cake and a very moist chocolate chip bread as well as cannollis and cream puffs. The rest of the food disappeared so fast that I am sure it must have been as wonderful as the desserts. So for an entertaining evening in Westerly, be sure to catch "Forty Carats" which will keep you guessing what is going to happen until the final curtain.

"Forty Carats" (16 May - 8 June)
1 (401)596-2341

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide