Tuesday, March 6, 2012

"Brighton Beach Memoirs"

Brighton Beach Memoirs

Playwright:  Neil Simon

Venue:  Coal Creek Community Theater, Louisville CO

Date of Performance:  Sunday, March 4, 2012

“Brighton Beach Memoirs” is Neil Simon’s somewhat autobiographical play recreating his childhood in Brooklyn NY. 

Set in 1937, “Eugene,” the young teenage boy tells a story about growing up, about girls, boys, family, and what “principles” are important in this family.  The story combines both drama and comedy in equal measure, with strong characters dealing with real family issues.

The venue, the Louisville Center for the Arts, is small.  Very small.  And it has some physical limitations that make performing there difficult.  That said, though, this production overcomes those obstacles, making excellent and creative use of a the space.

I have seen this play once before, but this production stands out for its very strong female characters.  Kate (Susan Meylor) and Blanche (Erica Sodos) are excellent as sisters in stress, as mothers in distress, and as actresses on a mission.  They bring convincing, accurate, and powerful performances to the Louisville stage. 

The show features some excellent teenage actors as well.  Eugene (Zachary Ellison) ties the story together with a charming coming of age tale.  Nora (Shaina Levinson) is the pampered little sister, a role she clearly knows something about.  And Laurie ( Jordyn Morgan) is every boys teenage fantasy…even if she turns out to be your cousin.

The set, in the somewhat difficult performing space, works very well.  The costumes are excellent; Blanche’s dress for her “date” was perfect. 

This is a family show, although families should be prepared for some teenage boy sexual chatter.  Perhaps a PG-13 rating would be appropriate.  That aside, the “family values” message here is an appropriate one for all families, and I would encourage everyone to bring the family.  Brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, and grandparents will all enjoy this show.

This show runs on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 PM, and on Sundays at 2:00 PM through March 10, 2012.

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