Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Bermuda Avenue Triangle"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


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entire contents copyright 2005 by Tony Annicone

"Bermuda Avenue Triangle"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The current show at the Newport Playhouse is "Bermuda Avenue Triangle". The show takes place in a Las Vegas condo which is purchased by the daughters of two senior citizen widows. They want their mothers to enjoy life, however the two mothers love to be miserable and make everyone around them miserable, too. A loveable con-man changes their lives into focusing on the positive side of things and the two widows are transformed into new women. These shenanigans bring much laughter to the audience and leads to the reconciliation between mothers and daughters. Add a nosey rabbi to the mix and you have the makings for a very hilarious evening of entertainment with delicious food before the show and a cabaret after it.

Producer Matt Siravo and director Rob Reimer choose the best people for these wacky roles. Rob also doubles as the busybody, Rabbi. He leads the two women on a day trip where they get lost and mugged as well as trying to evict them from the condo for their naughty sexual behavior with Johnny at the pool. Rob becomes a pawn in the two widows attempts at matching the Rabbi up with the other woman. The direction of this adult comedy brings out the comic and tender moments in the show with the making out, swearing and dancing scenes between Johnny and the two ladies as the comic highlights.

The three leading characters are played by strong veteran performers. Sandra Nicastro plays Tess, the Italian/Irish part of the Triangle perfectly. Her first entrance as a complaining elderly shrew who is very religious, Catholic, constantly saying the rosary and praying to her many religious statues is a hoot. But she becomes even funnier as the curse is lifted by Johnny's fake cure while she drinks the cooking sherry, then they do a wild dance and she transforms herself into a hotsy totsy red head who makes passionate love as much as she can. Sandi is a wonderful comedienne and she shines in this role. She also shows Tess' tender side with her daughter by finally saying she loves her at long last. Her fellow co-star is Molly Dodd who plays the role of Fannie wonderfully. Fannie is a long suffering, Jewish widow who is weepy and whiny at the start of the show but Johnny's love for her turns into a blond haired vamp who is hot for his body by the close of the night. Molly makes her one-liners soar and she invokes much laughter with her crazy antics especially in the tango scene where she is too arthritic to dance but then becomes an older Rockette type later on. She gives a touching and emotional closing scene with her daughter, making the tears flow effortlessly. Both Sandi and Molly play off each other beautifully, giving the show the boost it needs.

Rick Bagley plays the bon vivant rascal who brings these two women back to life by bringing them joy and a lot of sex to their formerly miserable lives. As Johnny, he listens to their monologues attentively, then weaves his own sad tale about his "dead" wife, Ruby. Rick lets the audience in on his conning of the women but they enjoy it so much that they are swept away by it, too. Rick is a topnotch actor who brings out the best in any role he plays. The dancing segments and the removal of the curse by drinking a concoction and saying "Son of a bitch" are comic gems. Rick and the two women have great chemistry together, making the triangle completely enjoyable while doing so.

Playing the long suffering offspring are Lisa Reimer as Rita, Fannie's soap opera actress, daughter and Rene Russo as Angela, Tess' daughter. They both show how much they care for their mothers while showing their exasperation with them, too. Lisa and Rene have telephone scenes concerning their mothers behavior and their discovery of the menage-a-trois antics are handled comically. Lisa gets to shine in her crying scene with her mother by getting the audience to choke up with her wonderful portrayal of the daughter finally being told how proud her mother is of her. So for a fun filled evening of buffet food including turkey and home-made stuffing as well as pot roast and many other delectable items, a comic play and songs and jokes at the cabaret, be sure to catch the latest show at Newport Playhouse.

"Bermuda Avenue Triangle ( 23 September - 20 November)
102 Connell Highway, NEWPORT RI
1 (401) 848-7529

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide