Eugene Jerome and family fight the Depression's hard times and sometimes fight with each other as we visit them in 1937. Miner's Alley Playhouse in Golden presents “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” the first of playwright Neil Simon's “Eugene …
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Eugene Jerome and family fight the Depression's hard times and sometimes fight with each other as we visit them in 1937. Miner's Alley Playhouse in Golden presents “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” the first of playwright Neil Simon's “Eugene Trilogy,” clearly based on his own youth in a struggling Jewish family.
It's 1937 — depths of the Depression …
Michael Kosko, a senior theater major at Denver School of the Arts, gives a strong performance as Eugene, the funny, anxious, curious, bright teenager who wants to be a pro baseball player now — and eventually a writer.
As lights go up on the family apartment, he is practicing pitching and talking a mile a minute. He serves as our narrator, ponders about sex continually, and is witty and perceptive. His mother, Kate (Heather Hughes), is setting the table and her sister, Aunt Blanche (Jessica Roblee), is sewing. She and her daughters Nora and Laurie have moved in with Eugene's family after her husband died of cancer.
Nora (Tessa Robinson) is excited about a theater opportunity and studious Laurie (Isabella Duran-Shedd) is perhaps unwell — or is treated as ill by her mother. Other family members are restless 19-year-old brother Stanley (Curtiss Johns) and hard-working father Jack (Rory Pierce).
Each has an ongoing story in this well-crafted play, and director Allison Watrous, a teaching artist at the Denver Center for Performing Arts, has brought considerable skill as actor, director and teacher to create a polished, warm, nicely paced production.
Simon started in show business as a comedy writer and his witty dialogue stands out in this play as it does in his others. He wrote more than 30 plays and many movie scripts.
Miners Alley is a small theater with limited stage space and Jonathan Scott-McKean's simple apartment set works really well, enhanced by Vance McKenzie's lighting design. Costumes have a 1930s look and one could almost smell the dreaded cabbage and liver dinner Jerome fussed about.
If you go
“Brighton Beach Memoirs” runs through June 28 at Miners Alley Playhouse, 1224 Washington Ave., Golden. Performances: 7:30 P.M. Fridays and Saturdays; 6 p.m. Sundays, except noon on June 28. Tickets cost $23, minersalley.com or 303-935-3044.
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