A.D. Players presents the Neil Simon relationship comedy “Barefoot in the Park”.
This play was first performed on Broadway in 1963 and later developed into a motion picture starring Robert Redford and Elizabeth Ashley. This lighthearted comedy has delighted audiences for many years and is skillfully brought to the stage by this superb cast and crew. Kevin Dean directs a strong comedic and talented cast. Dean, a talented actor himself, uses each crew and cast member to give a pleasing production all around.
This play takes the simple story of a young newlywed couple and gives it the real life treatment. Corie (Christy Watkins) and Paul (Braden Hunt) have been married a mere six days when she signs them up for a top floor New York apartment. The apartment is a little underwhelming with some heat issues and a broken skyline in the coldest months of the year. Corie sees herself as a “doer”. She is vibrant, full of life and, like all women, extremely emotional. Paul on the other hand is a, what she calls a “watcher”. He is a lawyer bound by work, logic and is goal oriented. They make for the perfect comical mix.
Watkins plays Corie brilliantly with a relatable ease and charm that seems to give way to emotional madness. Corie is a carefree, adventurous spirit and the mix of that plus all the chaos of being a newlywed really gets to her. Watkins perfectly captures the hot and cold of the character as we go from liking her to being annoyed with her and finally to accepting the character’s imperfections.
Hunt as Paul is a completely likable character. He is driven, caring and logical. He is the beating heart of the production and easily the most normal of the characters. Hunt steals the hearts of audiences and draws all eyes to him each time he takes the stage.
No couple, especially newlyweds, are complete without the mother in law. In this case, Corie’s mother, Ethel (Patty Tuel Bailey), visits and gets thrown into the madness of Corie’s world. After Paul learns about crazy neighbors in the building, Corie meets Victor Velasco (Ric Hodgin), one of the most colorful neighbors of all. When she invites her mother and Victor to dinner as a setup, the real madness and hilarity of the play begins.
Bailey and Hodgin’s together on stage are a perfect pair. They are just the opposite of the two leads. Bailey’s character is more down to earth, go with the flow, logical type. Hodgin’s character, on the other hand, is a take life by the hand and run with it. He travels, or says he does, eats exotic cuisine and stays out until all hours of the night. This pair is the comedic heart of this production, each perfectly delivering their lines to get more than a few laughs from the audience.
Rounding out the cast is a delivery man (Ron Solomon) who has a hilarious scene stealing moment. Finally, Craig Griffin, the telephone man, who also has his share of hilarious and awkward moments attempting to do his job, while trying to navigate the shaky newlywed waters.
Despite a somewhat slow start, this play offers many laughs and is a story any couple can relate too. Whether you are more of a Corie or a Paul, this play gives you chance to take a step back and really see both sides. This is a fun, humor filled production that those starting, in the middle or happily committed in their relationship can all find enjoyment in. Don’t miss your chance to see this comedy.
“Barefoot in the Park” runs now through Valentine’s Day. For ticket information, visit their site at www.adplayers.org, call 713-526-2721 or you can purchase at the door. Tickets are going fast so get them while you can. Check out the other events going on this summer at the theater and see what shows are up ahead for both the Main stage and Children’s theater for the 2015-2016 season.