The latest show at The Newport Playhouse is a Christmas farce, "Sorry Wrong Chimney". The show takes place in the NY apartment of a newly married couple, David (Michael Deely) and Samantha (Christina Goral) Tuttle. It is ten days before Christmas and David has secretly been playing Santa to earn enough money to buy Sam an emerald and pearl necklace. Problems ensue with the secret because of Sam's phone call to the office andthe constant barging in of their neighbors, Bill Weldon (Jim Whitaker) and his snooty wife Natalie (Nicole Morris). Bill is a psychiatrist who loves to hypnotize people. Add a slightly off balanced Santa burglar (John Brennan), his tough gum chewing Brooklyn gun moll Sheila (Elizabeth Colagiovanni) and a hypnotized dancing and stripping policeman (Michael Viccione) into the mix to add to the merriment of this delightful comic Christmas farce.
Director Kate Radin casts each role very well. Each character is different from the other and the physical comedy adds to their diversity. She is adept at giving the direction needed to make a farce like this work. The fast paced timing and delivery is accomplished by her talented cast. The physical actions of being caught by telephone wire, stealing ornaments from the tree, chasing after people, striptease dancing, two people falling onto the couch and hiding on the floor under a slipcover are handled adeptly by the cast under Kate's guidance. Brava on a job well done.
Young performers Michael Deely and Christina Goral as David and Sam are wonderful as the newly married couple. Michael is at ease on the stage whether in a normal scene or in a comic scene especially the sumowrestling with Santa scene. He also is very funny chasing Shelia around the stage when he is under hypnosis making the transition from one character to another with perfect line delivery. His confusion at the situations around him are displayed by his looks of astonishment. A talented young man in his first role in Newport Playhouse with many more roles to come! Christina is his sexy counterpart in a low cut with hot red pants pajama ensemble looks like a young Barbara Streisand and acts like Cher on her comedy show on TV. Her comic faces and movements display the dippy behavior of her love starved wife of six months. Christina's dizziness after getting tangled in the phone cord, her long kissing ! scene with David and her lying on top of Bill on the sofa are just a few of the crazy and wild moments she gives the audience. A wonderful comedienne in her debut show, too.
The crazy neighbors are played by Jim Whitaker as the pipe smoking analytical shrink who thinks Sam is in love with him and Nicole Morris as his nouveau riche snooty wife who knows David is secretly Santa but keeps the secret quiet leading to fun filled chaos. Jim plays the absent minded Bill very well. He forgets to take his key with him having left in pajamas, robe and slippers. Jim's costume change to keep his wife from finding out he is in the Tuttle's apartment is one of the funniest moments in the show. The brown jacket with gray pants, multicolored tie, two diferent socks and shoes is outstanding. (A word of praise to Lisa Reimer on her brilliant selection of farcical creations for this show!) Jim is a well seasoned actor and makes Bill, the perfect fool especially in his know it all hypnosis scenes where he has the wrong guys in love with the wrong girls. He thinks Santa is David and vice versa. It is a funny and satiric commentary on the psyiatric profession. Nicole's constant barging in on the couple is funny because the first time it is her husband and Sam accidentally on the sofa together and when David comes home it adds to more confusion. She handles the shrink's wife with ease. Nicole's finest moment comes in the hypnotizing the cop into dancing around the room. Her reactions and walking around in high heels is right on the money. She and Jim act like the perfect married couple arguing constantly. Two more fine performances in this wacky farce.
John Brennan as the demented Kris Kreigle who thinks he is really Santa is a must see comic turn. He steals everything he can get his hands on and delivers the character's dimwitted lines with great conviction. John's chasing and pursuing Sam in and out of the doors, his wrestling scene with David, his blank look while being hypnotized and his trying to climb up the chimney are standout moments for this wonderful character actor. The Brooklyn tough broad, Sheila played by Elizabeth is another off center type who enters in an elf costume while brandishing a gun. But beneath the tough exterior beats a heart of gold, Sheila returns all the loot Kris steals back to the police station. Liz makes Sheila a strong comic presence in the midst of this farce. Her tattoos on her stomach in the pink ballerina costume are hysterical. Great job. Michael Viccione as the hypnotized dancing cop is a joy to watch.! He enters as a serious law enforcer and leaves humiliated by the people he was going to arrest. While under, he wakes up every time fingers are snapped, landing in various and unusual positions. The ultimate moment is when he dances up a storm on the stage while wearing sock garters, boxers with hearts on them while doing the bump with Bill. The wildness of this routine leads the audience into gales of laughter. Michael makes the many transitions from being awake to being under seamlessly. A fun filled evening of Christmas cheer awaits all playgoers to this little known holiday show. So go live, laugh and enjoy this festive time of the year with this funny farce.(The holiday set is by Vince Micucci and the producer is Matt Siravo who is celebrating the 17th anniversary of his first show at the Playhouse in December.)