Arts & Entertainment

Review: Barefoot in the Park

Mia Lethbridge, Jake Speer and Georgie Parker Photo: Clare Hawley

The Ensemble’s decision to stage the 1960’s smash hit Barefoot in the Park by Neil Simon will definitely pay off, with an almost certain guarantee of full houses during its Sydney season.

With a small cast of just five, the play focuses on the relationship of Corie and her lawyer husband Paul Bratter, a newly married young couple who have just moved into a tiny Manhattan apartment on the top floor of a brownstone without a lift.

Tensions arise as a result of the uncomfortable apartment, including a small bedroom with space only for a single bed and a hole in the skylight through which the snow is falling. Ethel, Corie’s intrusive mother, along with the couple’s intrusive neighbour Victor Velasco, contribute to the strain on the newlyweds.

Corie suggests a dinner for the foursome at Victor’s favourite Albanian restaurant and the tension – and opportunities for laughs – is ramped right up after quantities of alcohol are consumed by all.

Neil Simon’s script sparkles with wit and even wisdom. Mia Lethbridge gives us a delightful Corie who loves to let her hair down. Jake Speer’s up-tight performance wins our sympathy, while Georgie Parker as Mrs Banks and Daniel Mitchell as Victor fuel much of the humour of the show.

And Jamie Oxenbould wrings comedy out of his short appearances as the telephone repair man who has just negotiated some six flights of stairs.

Mark Kilmurry directs with a light touch, bringing out the strengths of his talented cast.

This production rivals the film which starred Jane Fonda and Robert Redford. Don’t miss it! (ID)

Until October 8, evenings and matinees. Ensemble Theatre, 78 McDougal Street, Kirribilli. $32-$69. Tickets & info: www.ensemble.com.au

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