Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Greetings"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

entire contents copyright 2010 by Tony Annicone


Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The current show at Theatre Works is "Greetings", a warm yet funny Christmas show, making it a pleasant alternative to "A Christmas Carol". The story takes place in the Gorski home on Christmas Eve in the 1960's. Andy brings home his Jewish, atheist fiancee, Randi Stein to meet his nice, Catholic mother, Emily, his cranky Catholic father, Phil and his severely retarded brother, Mickey who only says, "Wow" and "Oh Boy". Chaos rules the evening until Mickey is inhabited by a spirit, Lucius who proves miracles do happen due to the love and understanding of all the characters. Director Mark Anderson leads his performers from their petty squabbles to bringing the family together and healing their old wounds. He gives the audience many comic and heart warming moments during it. He also designed the perfect Christmas set, helping to get the audience into the right mood at this festive time of year.

Sharon Charette made the colorful costumes for the cast while Mark's lovely wife, Connie handles the props and stage manages, keeping things running smoothly all night long.The biggest scene stealer in this show is Fred Fortier III as the retarded brother, Mickey. his acting prowess astounds you as he transforms himself into the talking spirit, Lucius. He stays in character throughout the entire show, maintaining the gestures and tics of a retarded person splendidly. Fred's dialogue as Lucius is delivered with a British accent and when he utters his first word "Greetings", the audience is astounded. The spirit helps the family overcome its problems as well as to help Randi reach out to her father. Lucius also fulfills Mickey's dream of speaking, too. One of his funniest shticks is when Mickey is using the crucifix as a plane. He is also funny while doing his favorite wrestling moves with his older brother. He emits a terrifying roar and makes a claw with his hand to pin his opponent. Fred gives a dynamite performance from start to finish.

Playing the mother and father are veteran performers, Lynn Price and Moe Cournoyer. Although they are much younger in real life than their characters, both of them pull off these roles wonderfully. Lynn plays the caring, doting mother beautifully. She and Moe act like a true to life bickering married couple. Lynn's fainting scene and when she says a Jewish friend sit and shiver when someone died is funny as is when she says she is going to give Phil a kick in the ass when he throws a baked apple on the floor. The poignant moments occur while she tries to teach Mickey how to talk and when she and Moe react to Mickey's convulsion scene. This adds needed depth to the show. Moe's old man walk with a cane and his posture are very convincing as this older person. He plays the cranky old man with a lot of spirit and the audience loves it when he gets put in his place by the other characters. Moe's funniest lines are when he tries to scare the spirit out of Mickey with a photo of the Blessed Mother and a crucifix. Also a lot of laughter occurs when he says Sister Clarissa jumped him, really jump starting his car.

The engaged couple is played by Ed Benjamin III and Amy Silva. Ed does a great job as Andy, showing realistic emotional reactions in the scenes. From being hurt by his father's disapproval, to being loving and warm to Mickey and his mother and showing great love and affection for his girlfriend, Randi. Ed handles the dramatic and comic moments perfectly. He will be appearing as Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar for the group in April. Amy handles the complicated role of Randi wonderfully. She shows strength when she stands up to Phil, shows love towards Andy and shows understanding to Mickey. When her character realizes it's time to make up with her parents with the help of Lucius, it helps make Randi into a softer more forgiving person. Some of her funny lines include thinking Santa was a drunk while listening to a record skip over and over that said so Santa loaded, loaded, loaded and doing a Milk of Magnesia commercial on TV. So for a warm hearted Christmas treat, be sure to catch this show. You won't be disappointed.

"Greetings" (3 - 12 December)
@ Clinton Street, WOONSOCKET RI

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide