Barefoot in the Park : a bubbly and entertaining production in Perth, On.

Reviewed by Iris Winston

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Jean-Denis Labelle photo.

The heavy breathing that is a key feature of Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with trudging up many flights of stairs to a fifth-floor walk-up apartment in New York. And that minor inconvenience is just one of the many problems with the nest that enchanted the impulsive and newly-wed Corie Bratter. Perhaps, if her lawyer husband had seen the cramped apartment before she rented it, he might have noticed the hole in the skylight, the minute bedroom, the faulty radiator or the excessive rent.

When it premiered on Broadway in 1963, Barefoot in the Park was an instant hit, running for more than 1,500 performances — a record run for a non-musical play. Later a successful movie starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda, the comedy — written as a tribute to Simon’s first wife — focuses on the attractions between opposites and the steep learning curve in the early days of any marriage—50 years ago or today.

As directed by Laurel Smith, the Classic Theatre Festival production is consistently bubbly, with the cast members (often out of breath in enacting the oft-repeated stair-climbing gag) displaying appropriately contrasting characteristics. Rachel Fischer is an enthusiastic and adventurous Corie. Chris Zonneville, as her husband Paul, tries to shed his inhibitions and sensible approach to life. Catherine Bruce, as Corie’s mother, takes on the role of good sport, while William Vickers, with his precise comic timing, is outstanding as the charming ladies’ man. In the cameo role of the telephone man, Sean Jacklin delivers a highly effective portrait of embarrassment at being an unwilling witness to a major fight between the newly weds. The well-designed technical aspects complete the picture of a very entertaining production.

The Classic Theatre Festival production of Barefoot in the Park continues to August 2.

Barefoot in the Park

By Neil Simon

Classic Theatre Festival

Director: Laurel Smith

Set: Jennifer Goodman

Lighting: Wesley McKenzie

Sound: Matthew Behrens

Costumes: Renate Seiler

Cast:

Corie Bratter………………………………………Rachel Fischer

Telephone Man……………………………………Sean Jacklin

Paul Bratter………………………………………..Chris Zonneville

Mrs. Baker………………………………………..Catherine Bruce

Victor Velasco…………………………………….William Vickers


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