Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

June 22, 2009

Last of the Red Hot Lovers

New Century Theatre, Northampton, MA
through June 27, 2009
by Meghan Lynn Allen

New Century Theatre's opening is red hot! "Last of the Red Hot Lovers" follows the bumbling antics of fish restaurant owner Barney Cashman, a married middle-aged man whose clumsy, comical, and pathetic attempts at having an affair entertains audiences in three acts.

Buzz Roddy depicts Barney with a combined anxiousness, hopelessness, and ridiculousness to fall in love with him...even though that's not wise. Just as he reaches a full-blown mid-life crisis, Barney realizes that he somehow missed the sexual revolution of the 1960's. He frantically tries to catch up by seducing three different women. Although his hands smell like fish, his seduction lair is his mother's apartment, and he is married with children, these three different women take him up on his lackluster adulterous offer.

Denise Cormier plays Elaine Navazio, a pessimistic, tough-talking, nicotine-obsessed, married woman who has plenty of experience with extra-marital pleasures. Elaine's biting sarcasm is deftly executed by Cormier. Cormier and Roddy make a deliciously awkward pair. Sandra Blaney portrays the emotionally-unstable, flower child and drama queen Bobbi Michele. Blaney expertly parades Bobbi's feverish range of emotions out for all to see. Her wacky, maniacal ways are believable and frightening, though hilarious. Blaney and Roddy provide the most comical moments in the play. Finally, Jeanette Fisher role by Sara Whitcomb brings to the audience depression, neuroticism, and melancholy wrapped up in a sweet and sad little package.

Playwright Neil Simon supplies his classic exploration of the darker and funnier side of human nature - in this case heightened by mid-life angst, impossible relationships, and hilarity through tragedy. Under the fast-paced and light-hearted direction of Jack Neary, the play succeeds as a comedy and a fun night out.