Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Over The River And Through The Woods"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2003 by Tony Annicone

"Over The River And Through The Woods"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The current show at the Granite Theatre is Joe DiPietro's comedic take on the Italian-American family, "Over The River And Through The Woods". Nick Cristano is a 29 year old Italian at the crossroads of his life. For his entire life, Nick and his four grandparents have gathered for the traditional Sunday night family dinner. This tradition is about to change when Nick breaks the news that he's leaving Hoboken for a job promotion in Seattle. Bent on keeping their only grandson around so he can marry and have children, the four grandparents hatch a plot to keep him in town. Hilarity ensues with some wonderful poignant moments that lead Nick to finally realize the true meaning of "family" and "Tengo Familia". David Jepson's strong direction and excellent cast mixed together with one of the best scripts around, make this one of the must see shows of the season.

This show is perfect for families of all ages, no matter what their nationaliy is, they can relate to the situation presented to them. The old country values meeting current trends in Nick's relationship are explored, making you laugh and cry, giving you a most entertaining evening.David's direction of the show and the acting talents of the six performers are superb. The Italian accents of the older characters are fantastic. The set of living room, foyer and dining helps get you into the ambiance of the old country especially with all the religious elements in them. Another important element is the many lighting changes to highlight the person when they deliver a soliloquy to the audience and back to the scene they are in. Morgan ban Draoi runs the lights while stage manager, Michael Chiaradio sets up the multitude of food used in the show and keeps the actors on their toes for their entrances and costume changes. Bravo to all who made this show the success it is.

Jason Andoscia who is only 23 years old, tackles this enormous role with pages and pages of dialogue with the ease of a seasoned actor. He creates a wonderful character who the audience can immediately relate to in his relationships with his grandparents. His exasperation at their meddling is mixed with his deep love for his family. Jason appears onstage for only his third time but make it a very memorable one.

The four grandparents are all fabulous in their roles whether they are making you laugh hysterically or sob uncontrolably. Each one of them have their moments to shine in this show. Sonny Dufault as Frank, Carol Forest as his wife, Aida, Ray Daponte as Nunzio and Nancy Pinto as his wife, Emma are outstanding. Sonny tells the serious stories but his driving is awful. Carol cooks and wants to feed you constantly. Ray tells funny stories but has a secret he is keeping while Nancy plays the religious Mass card buying grandmother who like to go on bus trips. To reveal any more of their antics would spoil this show for the audience. Suffice it to say these four performers need to be seen by one and all. Rounding out this cast is Jen Kimmerlee who plays the girl the grandparents bring to Sunday night dinner one week. She makes the most of her stage time and has a funny bit when she calls Nick an asshole for the way he treats his grandparents. So for a fantastic well writen and well performed show, be sure to catch "Over the River and through the Woods" at the Granite Theatre in Westerly. You will definitely not be disappointed and it will bring back many memories of the past for everyone

"Over The River And Through The Woods" ( 24 October - 16 November)
THE GRANITE THEATRE
1 Granite Street, WESTERLY, RHODE ISLAND
1 (401) 596-2341

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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