Barefoot in the Park | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Barefoot in the Park


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Barefoot in the Park, Stage Right Dinner Theatre. When this Neil Simon play opened on Broadway in 1963, audiences were delighted by Corie Bratter, a blushing new bride with a passion for the "wild, insane, and crazy." Even now at Stage Right, other members of the audience were admiring her and saying "she's quite a character." To me, likely the only person in the room under 50, her simpleminded neediness was just too annoying.

Jessica Granger plays Corie to the exuberant hilt as she makes silly decisions and acts out raving insecurities. Everything is exciting to this impulsive drama queen, who childishly demands a divorce from her husband the week after their honeymoon because he's a "stuffed shirt."

Jason Bowen may overplay the proper lawyer's martyrdom to Corie's whims, but when Paul Bratter loosens up enough to vent his anger at his wife's petulance, Bowen shines. The other cast members are also solidly funny. Jody Goldman is a thoroughly enjoyable straight mom complementing her daughter's zest, Peter Verdico plays the exotic upstairs neighbor with charm, and Frank Roberts makes the comic most of his brief appearances as the telephone repairman.

Director Catherine Davis broadly embraces the show's silliness, but the pacing is off. The audience should not audibly anticipate the punch lines before the actors deliver them. Still, the show is breezy and engaging, especially if you are undisturbed by its witless heroine.

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