Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: San Francisco

An Excellent Production of Chad Beguelin's Harbor
New Conservatory Theatre Center

Also see Richard's reviews of Candide and Tree and Jeanie's reviews of Clybourne Park

Scott Cox and Teri Whipple
New Conservatory Theatre Center is presenting the West Coast premiere of the sharp and timely new comedy Harbor by Chad Beguelin. Great direction and terrific acting make this an entertaining two-hour presentation. Yes, it's a soap opera type of drama—but damn good soap opera.

Ted, a prosperous and fulfilled architect, and Kevin, a man/child who is still trying to finish a novel, are living comfortably in their upscale apartment in Sag Harbor. Everything seems "peaches and cream" in their gay dream world. Now, it would not be soap opera drama if this would continue, would it? Who shows up but Kevin's sister Donna, a pothead single mother who lives in a van with her daughter, 15-year-old Lottie who is polite and well-adjusted. To make matters worse, Donna is pregnant.

Donna is a mother from hell and she is manipulative and despicable, especially to Ted. Not only that, but she wants Kevin to agree to raise her child. Now, Ted hates children with a passion. He even goes on long tirades about them. Kevin is "wishy washy" about this but Donna, who knows how to control her brother, knows Kevin will have no choice. As to what happens in the end, I won't divulge, since it is a great ending to the comedy-drama.

Teri Whipple gives a perfect performance as Donna. She is constantly belittling both Ted and Kevin. For example, Kevin is describing his novel using the words "esoteric" and "apocryphal," and Donna retorts, "You should put some vampires in it. Since it's all the rage now." When describing her very smart daughter she says "She is wicked smart, she's like, Asian smart." You will love to hate her.

Jennie Herz, who is actually 15 years of age, is outstanding as the daughter Lottie. She handles the role as a very brainy and steady young lady—the exact opposite of her mother.

Scott Cox shines as the stay at home Kevin who has been working on this novel for 10 years, while Andrew Nance gives a splendid performance as the adult Ted who loves to bombast against entitled parents and double-wide prams (he uses the English term for those strollers).

Director Ed Decker keeps the show moving vigorously, and Devin Kasper has devised a beautiful upscale living room set on this small stage.

Harbor runs through March 1, 2015, at the Walker Theatre, New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness off Market, San Francisco. For tickets call 415-861-8972 or visit

Photo: Lois Tema

Cheers - and be sure to Check the lineup of great shows this season in the San Francisco area

- Richard Connema

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