Playwright: Jeff Baron
Venue: Cherry Creek Theatre, 2414 East 3rd Avenue, Denver, CO
Date of Performance: Saturday, October 13, 2012
Running Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes (includes 15 minute intermission).
“Visiting Mr. Green” throws two unlikely characters together into a situation neither expects or enjoys. Mr. Green, (Joey Wishnia) a retired dry cleaner, and Ross Gardiner (Cajardo Lindsey), a 29 year old corporate type, meet when Gardiner “almost” hits Green with his car as he crosses a street in New York City. Gardiner’s community service sentence is to visit and assist Green once a week for six months. The sentence apparently is meant to punish both of them.
Joey Wishnia must have a couple of rooms full of acting awards. His resume includes work on several continents, and acting in no less than nineteen of Shakespeare’s plays. As Mr. Green, he is a cranky curmudgeon who recently lost his wife of 59 years. He’s abrasive but approachable, self centered but compassionate. Wishnia plays the role to the hilt, bringing a frisky playfulness to the character.
Cajardo Lindsey (as Ross Gardiner) has his hands full with Wishnia’s Mr. Green. Lindsey brings his own impressive resume to the Cherry Creek Theater (CCT) stage, and measures up extremely well with his older, experienced co-star. There may well come a time when Lindsey’s resume will rival Wishnia’s.
The talent these two accomplished actors bring to the CCT stage make “Visiting Mr. Green” a powerful adventure.
A great theater experience does not always require the elaborate sets, special effects, and resources of a Broadway extravaganza. A simple set, a thoughtful script, and a talented cast and crew can provide the necessary ingredients for an unforgettable evening of theater. And that is exactly what you get here.
As CCT founder Mark Rossman pointed out before the show, audiences at Shakespeare’s original productions had no chairs. Everyone stood through the whole performance. It had to be pretty uncomfortable, but who among us wouldn’t have loved to see Shakespeare at the Globe…with or without comfortable seating?
The good news is that you won’t have to stand to see “Visiting Mr. Green” at CCT. In fact, the chairs are quite comfortable. That said, though, you will be watching the performance in what is normally a sales venue for exotic rugs. The lighting is minimal, as is the set. There are no special effects, no curtains, and no microphones. Nevertheless, in this unlikely minimal setting, theater magic happens.
Like Shakespeare at the Globe in 1599, Joey Wishnia and Cajardo Lindsey show us the power and the substance of theater done well.
This show runs through Sunday, October 28, 2012. Parking is limited, and seating is general admission. Arrive early enough to walk from nearby Cherry Creek Mall parking areas.
Producer/Director: Pat Payne
Set Designer: Richard Pegg
Mr. Green: Joey Wishnia
Ross Gardiner: Cajardo Lindsey