Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Bermuda Avenue Triangle"

THE THEATER MIRROR, Boston's LIVE Theater Guide


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entire contents copyright 2000 by Tony Annicone

"Bermuda Avenue Triangle"

Broadway actor Arthur "Bucky" Walsh hits pay dirt with his current show at The Newport Playhouse,"Bermuda Avenue Triangle". This hidden gem of a show not only has a well written script but also has superb acting and fantastic direction. Bucky does double duty in this show as actor and director. His insight into the characters, his dynamic blocking and attention to the smallest detail make this a must see show. Bucky is aided in this outstanding presentation by five other multitalented performers. His two leading ladies are veteran actresses who would make the reading of a telephone book hysterical. In this case the material matches their talents. Nikki Bruno and Vita Smith are a joy to watch in this show and any other show, too. Their transformation and growth of their characters give this show the added dimesion it needs to show great acting talent at work.

The show takes place in a Las Vegas condo. The daughters(Patty Mott and Michelle Donovan) of two senior citizen widows buy them a condo to help them enjoy life. However Fannie(Vita Smith), the heavyset Jewish mother and Tess(Nikki Bruno), the petite Irish-Italian mother love to be miserable and make everyone around them the same way. That changes when they are saved by the loveable con-man Johnny(Bucky) who changes their lives for the better. The results of these changes bring much laughter to the audience and leads to the reconciliation with their respective daughters. Throw in a busybody, Rabbi in shorts to this crazy show played by Rob Reimer, and you have the gist of a wonderful comic romp to follow.

Real life husband and wife, Bucky and Nikki expertly play their roles in this show. He allows the focus of the scene to stay on the two widows during their monologues about their miserable lives. Bucky's bon vivant character brings joy to the widows and the audience, too. The character's made up stories about his children and his "dead" wife let us in on the con he's pulling on these two women. Nikki plays Tess who has been under a curse for 45 years. She is a comic monster of a mother who when finally released from the "curse" can sing, dance and enjoy life and sex again. Nikki's transformation from strict upstanding Catholic to a wilder sexstarved woman is a sight to behold. The singing and dancing scenes among the three lead characters is one of the highlights of this show. This husband and wife team have been entertaining audiences for many years and this show is another feather in their cap. Bravo for a job well done.

The third part of this triangle is Vita Smith, another veteran actress who keeps you in stiches. Her character, Fannie is a weepy, whining pain at the start of the show but by show's end she is a sexy happy broad. The wigs and costumes worn by both Vita and Nikki are fantastic. They go from wearing orthopedic oxfords to sexy shoes and dowdy old lady dresses to miniskirt and leopard print outfit. The seduction scene between Vita and Bucky is hilarious, just when you thik she is not going to give in she does. Her facial expressions and body language is wonderful. This is another great performance by a very talented lady.

Patty Mott as Fannie's daughter Rita and Michelle Donovan as Tess' daughter Angela play their parts of the longsuffering offspring perfectly. They both show how much they care for their mothers but at the same time they show their exasperation at the mothers unbearable negative behavior. Patty and Michelle converse on the phone during the show to comment on their mothers change in behavior. The scene where they found out about their renewed sex life is extremely funny. The ending is heartwarming and all four actresses make the most of this scene, making it comic as well as touching. Great job girls. Rob Reimer as Rabbi Levine lends many a funny moment to this show. When Fannie and Tess try to match him up with each other and when he accuses them of a menage-a-trois are his standout moments. The looks of fright and indignation are right on the money!

Last but not least are three other people who make this a must see show. Stage manager, Kate Radin runs a tight ship with the lighting and sound cues and making the show run smoothly from start to finish. Wayne Alan Hawkins' wonderful choreography of the jig and the tangoes are priceless to watch and are executed by the tangoeing trio to comic perfection. Sandra Nicastro changes the scene while dancing and prancing to Barry Manilow's "Copacabana". This makes the transition of the show more interesting to watch. Super job to the cast and crew. Have a fabulous run!

"Bermuda Avenue Triangle" (till 9 July)
104 Connell Highway, NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND
1(401) 848-PLAY

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide