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Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Rooftop Productions Last of the Red Hot Lovers

By • Nov 9th, 2010 • Category: Reviews
Last of the Red Hot Lovers by Neil Simon
Rooftop Productions
Candy Factory, Manassas, VA
Through November 20th
2:00 with two breaks
$15/$12 Seniors/Students
Reviewed November 5th, 2010

The Last of the Red Hot Lovers is a play in three acts by Neil Simon. It is the story of one man’s attempt to try and have a fling with three different women. Each one comes with her own set of baggage and Barney finally comes to realize that he is a decent guy who loves his wife.

This was your typical Neil Simon comedy, featuring lots of barb and witty banter with a touch of physical comedy thrown in for good measure. Once again this was a situation that involved comedic timing that was not always present in the opening performance at The Candy Factory in Manassas. Perhaps it was just opening night jitters, but the pacing just seemed too slow. Barney Cushman played by Daniel Purcell, the restaurant owner who married his high school sweetheart twenty plus years ago seemed hesitant. Not a scripted hesitant, but more like Purcell was still thinking and trying to remember his lines. His best scene was in the second act with Bobbi Michelle, a wanna be actress who had really bad luck, played by Hannah Marie Malinowski. Malinowski had some line problems as well, but was actually pretty funny. Her “true stories” she told with such drama that they left Barney and the audience speechless. Except for the audience’s laughter which was huge. The ending scene in the second act actually was really well done when Barney and Bobbi got high. Then their characters really relaxed.

The first woman Barney met upstairs, Elaine Navazio, was a cold hard live-in-the-moment woman played by Christine Lowry. Lowry entered the apartment of Barney’s mother and immediately took control. Of course poor Barney had no idea how to handle this. Some of the blocking seemed a bit forced and stunted. However, Lowry did a fair job of trying to get down to business by talking faster all the while showing disdain for “such a prude” as Barney came across. Their physical comedy on the sofa was surprising and humorous.

The last woman Barney took upstairs was a family friend, Jeanette Fisher played by Penny McKee. It was obvious that McKee was not into having an affair, just wanted to vent a little bit and have a good cry. This was the moment when Barney realized that he did care for his wife. McKee had played her part well. She had the nervous gestures and timid movements that showed she was new at this. The pacing was still slow, but this was the sweetest scene of all three.

One of the most interesting things about this show was the use of the costumes. Costumes were by Val Nelson and were really true to 1970s. The bright colors, lace and frills made the contrast to Barney’s blue traditional suits all the more stand out. Even the last act when he wore a pale checked suit made him seem kind and everyday, which he really was. The set by the show’s director Sallie Willows was well done and tasteful.

A Neil Simon comedy that despite some pacing issues was still a delightfully fun evening.

Cast

  • Barnet Cashman: Daniel Purcell
  • Elaine Navazio: Christine Lowry
  • Bobbi Michelle: Hannah Marie Malinowski
  • Jeanette Fisher: Penny McKee

Crew

  • Director: Sallie Willow
  • Set Design: Sallie Willows
  • Lighting Design: Scott Bailey
  • Costumes: Val Nelson
  • Sound Design: Sallie Willows
  • Producer: Christine Lowry
  • Theatre Arts Director: Anne Ridgway
  • Graphic Design: Louise Noakes

Disclaimer: Rooftop Productions provided a complimentary media ticket to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005. Laura has performed in local productions and worked back stage. She will be stage managing The Taming of the Shrew, to be performed by Castaways Repertory Theatre in January 2012. She earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Laura is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association.

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