The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, September 22, 2000

Features

Theater Review: Last of the Red Hot Lovers

Merrimack Repertory Theater Through October 8

The Merrimack Repertory theater opens the 2000/2001 season with Neil Simon's Last of the Red Hot Lovers.

Bruce Ward, in the lead role, plays a forty-seven year-old restaurant owner

named Barney Cashman. Fearing that the sexual revolution is passing him by, he resolves to take action. As usual, Simon's characters come with a complex array of emotional baggage. While his quick wit and snappy lines are making us laugh, the emotions he dredges up strike a deeper nerve.

Taking a few hours off from his New York restaurant "The Queen of the Sea," Cashman attempts to arrange an afternoon fling. The constraints of his conventional married life and his own conscience have a more than limiting effect on this attempt. Using his mother's apartment, which is only available on Tuesday afternoons from one to five, he nervously goes to great lengths to make sure nothing suggests his presence. He even brings his own drinking glasses.

The first of the three women he invites up is a customer at his restaurant. M. Lynda Robinson is particularly effective in the role of Elaine, who is a straight-talking, no nonsense type who is very clear on why she is invited up. In a second attempt Barney invites Bobbi, an entertainer he met in the park. There is nothing straight about this character. Though Bobbi is certainly meant to be played flamboyantly, Stephanie Dorian is a little over the top in the role. In a third and final attempt he invites a family friend undergoing her own marital crisis. Chloe Leamon plays a very somber and somewhat morose Jeanette. In attempting to pull her out of her depression and make her see the value in life, Cashman begins to resolve his own conflicts.

The set shows a great attention to detail. The apartment has just the right look and feel. The costuming is well chosen and helps to bring the characters to life. This combination of the right look and a competent cast make for an entertaining evening.

Tickets range in price from $20 to $34.50 and are available at the box office or by calling 978-454-3926 or at www.mrtlowell.com. Some half-price tickets will be available for most performances one hour prior to curtain time. Wednesday, September 20 is pay-what-you-can-night. Fifty seats have been set aside and may be purchased for whatever amount the customer feels he can afford. These tickets are limited to two per person and can only be purchased at the box office.

How to get to the theater

The Merrimack Repertory Theater is approximately 11 miles from Carlisle center. Plan on about 20 minutes to get there. From 495 North take exit 35C and from 3 North take exit 30, for the Lowell Connector. Follow the connector to the end and turn left onto Gorham Street. At the fifth light, bear right onto Prescott Street. At the next stop light turn right onto East Merrimack Street. The MRT is approximately 1/3 mile on your left.


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