Comedy treat in store for theatre audiences

Newlyweds Paul and Corrie Bratter, played by Joe McCarrick and Maria Griffin

Newlyweds Paul and Corrie Bratter, played by Joe McCarrick and Maria Griffin

Athlone Little Theatre is set to banish the autumn gloom this October with a new production of Neil Simon’s hilarious and heartwarming play, Barefoot in the Park, which opens at the theatre on Wednesday October 6.

A tale of newlyweds, urban eccentrics, and comic misunderstandings, Barefoot in the Park is one of Neil Simon’s most treasured plays, and indeed it is currently the subject of a revival on Broadway. Beautiful young bride Corrie and her struggling lawyer husband, Paul, are beginning their lives together in a tiny top floor apartment in New York. True love has hit some all too practical snags. You have to climb six flights of stairs to get to the apartment, there’s no place to sit down, the heating doesn’t work and snow is falling through a hole in their skylight.

To make matters worse, their building is peopled with an array of lunatics, including the gourmet obsessed, lecherous Frenchman named Victor Velasco. Corrie revels in her new found happiness, but still dreads what her mother, Ethel, will say about the apartment. Cue an evening of absolutely hilarious dialogue, one-liners, and madcap misunderstandings.

Mel O’Flynn’s productions have consistently delighted packed houses at the Little Theatre for many years. Here, conscious of the times in which we live, the accent is very much on comedy, fun, and lightness. She has assembled a very talented cast to bring voice to Neil Simon’s trademark zest for life.

Maria Griffin delighted audiences last year with her opening appearances for the theatre in Big Maggie and I Do Not Like Thee, Doctor Fell. She is an absolute dote as Corrie, the incurable romantic, who just wants everybody to be happy, no matter what.

Playing opposite her is one of the theatre’s most accomplished comedy actors. Joe McCarrick makes a very welcome return to the local stage as Paul, Corrie’s stoic and increasingly bewildered husband. Neil Simon’s hilarious one liners, delivered with Joe’s impeccable comic timing, will be a treat for local audiences.

Also featured is the peerless Anne Hoey as Corrie’s mother, Ethel. There are few words that can do justice to the talents of such an outstanding actress, who yet again showed her mettle last year as Big Maggie. Here, Anne gives a delightful performance as the Jewish mom who unexpectedly finds herself thinking about love.

Victor Velasco, the roof climbing, gourmet, and sex obsessed bohemian neighbour, is played by Jason Gill, whose most recent outing was as Joe in Billy Nott’s challenging production of I Do Not Like Thee, Doctor Fell. There’s also a hilarious cameo from talented newcomer Brian Toolan as the sardonic yet sympathetic telephone repair man.

Watch out too for a memorable turn from Harry Smith as an exhausted and harassed furniture removal guy.

The gorgeous set is bv Paddy Martin and Clive Darling, with management by Marie Melia, Mary Johnston, and Mairead O’Connor. It has become a cliché to speak of a play as having something for everyone, but you could not wish for a better antidote to the evening news.

For further information call (090 ) 6474324.

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