Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern
Barefoot in the Park
Also see John's review of Beyond the Rainbow
Playwright Neil Simon received Tony Awards for his plays Biloxi Blues and Lost in Yonkers; and has received a total of 15 Tony Award Nominations for his work in shows such as Little Me, The Odd Couple, Sweet Charity, Plaza Suite, Last of the Red Hot Lovers, The Sunshine Boys, They're Playing Our Song, and Broadway Bound. He justifiably remains one of America's most successful and prolific playwrights, and his plays are to some extent a reflection of the playwright's own life. Often paying homage to his beloved New York City. Neil Simon writes with an honesty and humanity that is timeless. But this script may seem simple and slightly dated when considering it is little more than the story of a married couple's first fight.
In Barefoot In The Park, newlywed Paul and Corie, like Neil and his first wife Joan, find themselves in a fifth floor walkup apartment, amidst leaky closets, broken skylights, and eccentric neighbors. The setting is New York City in 1963. Paul and Corie Bratter have been married less than a week as they settle into their first apartment. Paul is a conservative young lawyer, and Corie a blithe and free spirit. For those of you who watch TV, think "Dharma And Greg." Of course their apartment with all its quirks causes concern.
A visit from Corie's staid and single mother inspires them to fix her up with their upstairs neighbor, Victor Velasco, who is an out of work, aging playboy. After all four have a night on the town, the couple encounters their first spat as husband wife. With injured pride their tempers flair in the way of callow, young lovers. They are seemingly shocked by the reality that they are less than perfect. But in the light of day, they are happily bound together again by their love and their marital journey ahead.
Scenic designer Michael Amico has made the most of this show. His set is clever and fresh. Between act one and act two, the stage crew appear as movers delivering the apartment's new furnishings. Most of the audience chose to remain in their seats to watch the entertaining scenic transformation take place.
Paul, as played by Richard Roland, is a warm and complex character who is both rash and logical, mature and childish. His counterpart, Corie, as played by Brandy Zarle, is sweet, sensitive and impulsive. Barbara Bradshaw as Corie's mother, Mrs. Banks, has polished comic timing. Her character is motherly but vital. Barefoot is more subtly written than other Neil Simon pieces. The actors have made the most of what they have been given. Even cameo entrances are fleshed out with humor based on the exhausting journey up and down the couple's fifth floor walk up. This show is filled with small laughs and smiles, but no big moments either happy or sad.
Barefoot In The Park runs though April 2nd at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. The theatre is located at 1001 Indiantown Rd and A1A in Jupiter, FL. Show times are Tuesday through Friday at 7:30 PM, Saturday 8 PM, and Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinee at 2 PM. Tickets can be purchased at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre Box Office, on line at www.jupitertheatre.org , or by phone at 561/575-3332 or 800/445-1666. The Maltz Jupiter Theatre is a 550-seat, nonprofit community-based Equity regional theatre belonging to the League of Resident Theatres.
* Designates member of Actor's Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage managers in the United States.