Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Public Radio likes our play!

This is the first time a play I've been in has been reviewed on the radio. How very cool!

I copy the text of the review here, for fear that it may eventually disappear from the NHPR website.

Up in Enfield, the Shaker Bridge Theatre, is holding forth with Tom Dudzick’s home-for-the-holidays comedy Greetings!

It’s Christmas Eve in Pittsburgh, and young Andy Gorski has brought his fiancée home to meet the folks. The trouble is, Andy’s parents are staunch working-class Catholics, and his girlfriend is not only Jewish, but an actress! Worst of all, she’s an avowed atheist! All this plays rather badly, especially with Andy’s terminal sourpuss of a father. But after a little help from his mentally disabled brother Mickey – and some divine intervention – things turn out just fine.

Dudzick’s play has those peculiar properties that critics hate and audiences love, probably for the same reasons. The script is clichéd and shamelessly sentimental, crammed with loose ends and addicted to bad one-liners. Its characters and situations are almost entirely ripped off from All In The Family, It’s A Wonderful Life, and, yes, A Christmas Carol. Even so, Greetings!’ familiarity is part of its appeal, and Shaker Bridge has put together a sincere and relatively smooth production.

Founding Artistic Director Bill Coons does triple duty. He directed, designed the play’s comfortable, intelligent set, and plays Andy’s dyspeptic father, Phil.

Coons the actor could use more of Carroll O’Connor’s subversive zest. But he gets good support from Pat Langille as his heroically patient wife, Emily, and very fine, understated work from Lane Gibson as little brother Mickey. Mike Backman and Jocelyn Parrish are less successful as son Andy and his fiancée, Randi, mostly because both are fifteen to twenty years too old for these roles.

In spite of its flaws, however, Shaker Bridge’s Greetings! still has enough sweetness and pathos to make it an attractive family outing.

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