Building Relationships

Barefoot In The Park by Neil Simon, Zero Point Theater, 12/28/10-1/2/11.  http://www.zptheater.com/

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

Zero Point Theater, a relatively new theatre company, brings Neil Simon’s crowd-pleasing favorite Barefoot In The Park to the stage.  While a few of the references from the 1963 play are dated, the integrity of this piece—underscoring the complexity of developing relationships—remains sound, along with the majority of the quips and witty dialogue that Simon is famous for.

Laura Loy energizes the production with her charm and innocence as Corie Bratter.  Corie is a newlywed who learns that marriage not only consists of passion and romance but also requires support and understanding of her partner’s needs.  As Corie, Laura brings the loveable, self-indulgence of a young bride that acts impulsively while her husband remains pragmatic.   Loy, as a new actress, misses some nuances in her character development; however, she displays immense potential to become an outstanding performer.  Lida McGirr provides experience and stability to the production.  Her strong, steady, yet loving nature as Corie’s mother Ethel balances out the extreme dynamic of the couple.  Laura Loy and Preston Graveline (Paul) will learn a great deal from McGirr’s dynamic range of emotion and expression throughout the run of the play.  Walter Driscoll plays the endearing neighbor Victor Velasco who helps Ethel to release some of her inhibitions.  Mr. Driscoll’s performance does not always remain focused, but the enchanting nature of his character makes the audience want to see Victor succeed at sweeping Ethel off her feet.  The cast is rounded out by Travis Joyce and Kenneth Siddons.

Barefoot in the Park, presented by Zero Point Theatre at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown, offers a delightful way to bring in the New Year.  Both the theater and its company provide a hopeful glimpse into the future of theatrical productions in Boston.

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