Simon’s ‘Red Hot’ laughs still ring true in Cider Mill production

Ava Crump and Buzz Roddy (photo by Stephen Appel)

Ava Crump and Buzz Roddy (photo by Stephen Appel)

The Neil Simon farce Last of the Red Hot Lovers opened this past week at the Cider Mill Playhouse in Endicott. The production, directed by Penny Powell, features Buzz Roddy, Dori May Ganisin, Marjorie Donovick and Ava Crump.

George Bernard Shaw is quoted as saying that the French do not really care what they do as long as they use the correct words. Roddy’s character, Barney Cashman, is no Frenchman – he is a mid-20th century American man — but he’s in crisis, and words are at the root of his perceived woes. At 43 he believes that his life has been incomplete, because he’s never had an affair. And words are his challenge. He strongly believes that romance must be a part of an affair; however, the women he pursues have other words in mind – and romance is not one of them.

Barney is always changing with each scene building upon the character’s development. Roddy rises to the needs of the role, keeping the audience very invested in Barney’s dilemmas. We suffer, share and enjoy all his anguishes.

Ganisin, a well-known actor in this area, always turns in a great performance. In this piece, she is remarkable.  Her quick mood changes are phenomenal. From sexual enticement to a coughing seizure to anger and attack —  all are accomplished with amazing speed and believability. Read the rest of this entry »

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Half-Light’s ‘Barefoot’ is ‘must-see production’

Reviewed by Ralph Hall

The “watchers” battle the “doers” in Half-Light Theatre’s production of Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park, which opened last night (March 23)  in the newly renovated ballroom of the Roberson Mansion in Binghamton. Director Tim Mollen established a pace and beat that nourished the humor and accented the dramatic, giving the full-house audience an excellent interpretation of this 1960s comedy.

Zachary Chastain (as a young newly-wed lawyer) and Kate Murray (as the mother of the new bride) interpreted their characters with a strength, consistency, humor and energy that made this production the success that it is. Both actors have been seen and enjoyed often on local stages; however, they both stepped up to new levels of artistic performance in Barefoot in the Park.

Chastain’s character maintains a constant rock of stability with a new wife, job and apartment until the pressure builds and the volcano erupts. Whether in the controlled stable state or lost in the eruption of frustration, Chastain’s performance was outstanding.

When the mother lets down her hair, it is the watcher becoming the doer. The shifting and altering of circumstances and timing demand an equal change in intensity and motivation. Murray very successfully rose to this demand. (Shown from left in the photo: Chastain, Wade, Murray and Yajko.) Read the rest of this entry »

Classic Simon comedy next up for new Half Light Theatre

By Ralph Hall

Broome County is blessed with several theatrical productions company. The newest is Half Light Theatre, which is producing Barefoot in the Park later this month in the newly redecorated ballroom of the Roberson Museum and Science Center, 30 Front St., Binghamton. The company was founded and is managed by Missy Harris, Tim Mollen and Nathan Butler. In February, Half Light produced Love Letters, which featured Mollen and Harris and was directed by Butler. Read the rest of this entry »