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Barefoot in the Park at Kaleidoscope

Barefoot in the Park

It says something about Kaleidoscope Theatre Productions and the audience they seek to entertain that they are opening their season with Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park. This endearing 1963 comedy by the American master of set-’em-up and knock-’em-down laughs originally starred the consummately charismatic young Elizabeth Ashley and Robert Redford as Corie and Paul Bratter, newlyweds moving into their first apartment. Corie is eccentric, fun-loving, and debatably irresponsible. Paul is…an attorney. After their first argument, divorce seems inevitable—but also, in the world of this sweet comedy, impossible.

Love will save the day for everyone.

The Kaleidoscope production, under the direction of Don Gervasi, is entirely unpretentious and workmanlike. This show would be as comfortable at any dinner theater in America, and I mean that in the nicest possible way. At every turn, the actors seek only to delight the audience with Simon’s unsurpassed comic repartee.

The action has inexplicably been reset in 1981—why not? The serviceable set is by Keith A. Wharton, who has taken care to provide special touches to the requisite features: a large sky light window with a hole in it, an upstairs bedroom, a tiny kitchen, a door, and a telephone jack. Costumes by Beth A. Gerardi-Wharton agreeably evoke the characters.

Andy Herr is especially strong as Paul. Both credible and funny, he provides a steady presence that allows the stock characters around him to frolic as they will. Maura Nolan lays on the charm as Corie. Margo Davis hits the ground running and nails the old-fashioned Broadway style comedy as Corie’s mother; she is matched, yuk for yuk by Tom Owen as Victor Velasco, the aging Lothario from upstairs. Britany L. Hagen and Douglas Anderson add to the fun in the smaller roles of the telephone repairperson and a deliveryman.

No, this production will not be winning the Regional Tony for theatrical innovation and artistic achievement. On the other hand, it will earn a permanent place in the hearts of its adoring audience on the campus of Medaille College.