Potomac Theatre Company The Last of the Red Hot LoversBy Michael Clark • Jun 25th, 2010 • Category: Reviews
Potomac Theatre Company
Blair Family Center for the Arts, Potomac, MD
Through June 27
2:20, with two 10 minute intermissions
$20/$18 Kids and Seniors
Reviewed June 24, 2010
Potomac Theatre Company’s production of Neil Simon’s comedy The Last of the Red Hot Lovers featured Ken Kemp as hapless “lover” Barney Cashman, whose attempts to create a memory to last a lifetime are thwarted by each woman he plans to bed.
Each act is focused on the woman that Cashman is trying to have an affair with. The set, by John Buckley, was fairly non-descript, simply Cashman’s mother’s small apartment. With very basic sound (designed by David Steigerwald) and light effects (designed by Steve Demind) (although the light effect at the start of the first two acts was well done), this play relies entirely on the ability of the actors to display many different levels of emotion and goals in each act. Director Norman H. Seltzer didn’t quite craft enough subtleties in the characters, so they ended up appearing mostly flat.
Carole Steel as Elaine Navaazio in the first act was the most believable and sympathetic woman for Cashman. She was very at ease on stage. Unfortunately, when the scene called for both Navazio and Cashman to get angry at one another, the emotion that was conveyed was discomfort. There’s more to anger than just a slightly louder voice.
Allison Hawley as Bobbi Michele didn’t quite ever give the audience a reason to know why Cashman was attracted to her in the park. Other than some bizarre and amusing stories that jumped from topic to topic, there really wasn’t any reason that Cashman should have been attratced to Michele at all. The entire scene felt quite contrived, never really hitting its stride.
Wendy Katzen as Jeanette Fisher was neurotic, yet mostly believable, as she showed her concern for Cashman’s wife through a series of questions and tears. Sometimes her mood changed a bit too quickly, such as when she left the room to clean herself up in the bathroom. Some lingering effects of her tears would have added verisimilitude to her performance.
Ken Kemp’s Cashman was quite believeable as the lonely husband trying to have his first affair. We didn’t learn too much about him in the last two scenes, although through the subtlety of his changing costumes (Tamitha Crosby, Marietta Green) we learn that he is starting to relax a bit. The closing minutes of the final scene were entirely believeable, and indeed were exactly how I was hoping the play would conclude.
Overall, this was an enjoyable production, despite weaknesses in the portrayals of the characters. Stronger, more nuanced performances would lead to a better production.
Neil Simon has been, for over 50 years, not only a prolific and successful playwright, but through his comedies has presented complex situation and vivid characters in intriguing plot situations. He has created a wide variety of entertaining and memorable characters who tell us much about the human condition and experience.
In Last of the Red Hot lovers, written over 40 years ago, Simon uses a protagonist, Barney Cashman, undergoing a middle-age crisis. Aware of the so-called, “sexual revolution” going on in this country, he wants have one romantic extramarital affair before moving on with the rest of his life.
In Barney’s encounters with here different women, Simon has provided not only a good deal of humor and outright laughter but also trenchant observations about contemporary life.
So, come along for the ride and enjoy!
- Barney Cashman: Ken Kemp
- Elaine Navazio: Carole Steele
- Bobbi Michele: Allison Hawley
- Jeanette Fisher: Wendy Katzen
- Director: Norman H. Seltzer
- Producer: Barry Hoffman
- Production Stage Manager: Tammi T. Gardner
- Costumes: Tamitha Crosby, Marietta Greene
- Scenic Design: John Buckley
- Lighting Design: Steve Deming
- Sound Design: David Steigerwald
- Props/Set Dressing: Sonya Okin
- Light Operator: Steve Deming
- Set Construction Supervisor: Alan Beck
- Set Construction: Alan Beck, John Buckley, Elie Cain, Ray Durante, Vin Kelly, Martin Flaum, Jeff Kelly, Jim Palumbo, D.A. Gurnsey, David Heims
- Photographer: Harvey Levine
- Playbill/Box Office: Marilyn Shockey
- House Manager/Concessions: Elie Cain
Disclaimer: ShowBizRadio attended a brush-up rehearsal for this review, so not ickets were involved.
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