Bright production of ‘Barefoot in the Park’

Posted 1/26/10

“Barefoot in the Park,” a hit and Tony nominee for playwright Neil Simon in 1963, is presented by PHAMALy, the Physically Handicapped Actors and …

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Bright production of ‘Barefoot in the Park’

Posted

“Barefoot in the Park,” a hit and Tony nominee for playwright Neil Simon in 1963, is presented by PHAMALy, the Physically Handicapped Actors and Musical Artists League, through Jan. 31 at the Aurora Fox.

Jeremy and Lyndsay Giraldi Palmer play spot-on parts as the newlyweds who find difficult issues with their dream home (a drafty sixth-floor flat in a New York brownstone on East 48th), her mother, an eccentric neighbor and, of course, each other.

Yes, it’s a play that’s done too often, but this production sparkles with actors who understand the need for precision timing to deliver Simon’s rapid fire one-liners — the reason to see his plays, if they’re done well. This is a short run. See it this weekend.

It helps that experienced director Edith Weiss knows a thing or two about comic timing after years of improv comedy, acting, play writing and directing. Her touch is apparent throughout.

And it helps that the lead couple, married since 2006, are not only skilled at their craft, but obviously bonkers about each other — that necessary chemistry is there between Corie and Paul Bratter, although they bring different personalities to the marriage: she is bouncy and inclined to overreact, while he is conservative and a bit stuffy, not to mentions stuffy-nosed with a cold through much of the play.

Lucy Roucis, back via surgery from truly disabling Parkinson’s symptoms, plays Corie’s difficult mother, who wings out her own set of those one-liners — and finds adventure.

We meet Mr. Victor Velasco, the wacky upstairs neighbor (Nicholas Ortiz Trammell) who wanders through frequently, using the bedroom window to access his place, organizing dinner parties and capturing the fancy of Mrs. Banks. With European accent and tastand in - your - face style, he tends to make things happen!

This quartet is joined by Harry Pepper, the wise telephone repairman, played with a twinkle by Steve Hahn and by Don Gabenski, the delivery man (in a wheelchair) who delivers a constant flow of wedding gift packages— and reminds after the fact how tough it can be when places are not made handicapped-accessible.

In order to perform with PHAMALy, actors must be dealing with a disability, although the lead couple’s issues are not visible and their physical comedy adds to the verbal zings.

The program explains what each cast member brings to the stage, and one marvels at the gutsiness it takes to put oneself out there. But one also grasps the value of this rare organization that offers opportunities for those who need and want to perform.

If you go:

“Barefoot in the Park,” PHAMALy through Jan. 31 at the Aurora Fox, 9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora. Jeremy and Lyndsay Palmer will play the newlyweds who find difficult issues with their dream home. Performances: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: $26/$24. 303-739-1970, www.aurorafox.org.

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