>barefoot in the park by singapore repertory theatre
>reviewed by daniel teo
3 nov 2001
There's nothing like a good Neil Simon play in this time of crisis.
With world peace going out the window and the world economy going crazy, it's all good in the theatre world of boy-meets-girl-and-you-know-the-rest. Now with even the Emmy's going solemn and boring, you need a lot to generate a laugh or two.
And in the world of newly wedded Paul and Corie, it is all hunky dory six days into their marriage - that is before he finds out about the hole in the skylight, the exorbitant rates for the cramped apartment and the terror of climbing six flights of stairs everyday. Add in a delusional neighbour and a clingy mother-in-law... you can see where all this is leading to.
Oh, let's not forget that he's also an anal retentive "stuffed shirt" while Corie is the Mary Poppins sing-song free spirit. Yes, it's all very 'Dharma and Greg' but lead actors Adrian Pang and Anne Marie Falvey thankfully brought life into their stock sitcom characters and predictable situations (haven't you seen all the possible permutations of break-ups and reunions in 'Friends'?).
the two were on stage, the play was at its best as the energy gained momentum
with their one-liners bouncing off each other. The chemistry between them
made sure that the lines had meaning beyond being merely funny and their
responses were more than just witticisms. Adrian Pang was especially a
joy to watch with his effortlessly hilarious physical comedy - he made
it seem so easy! With his firm grasp of his character, he really made
the play work in the second and third acts, making the transition between
stodgy Paul and trying-to-be spontaneous Paul so seamless and believable.
It was no mean feat that as the straight foil he was even funnier than
his hysterical partner.
>>'It was no mean feat that as the straight foil Pang was even funnier than his hysterical partner. '
energy from a cleverly designed set that made use of the varying degrees
of the theatre's dimensions, the play had punch whenever the couple held
court on stage. However the pacing of the play tripped over itself sporadically
as other character transitions were bumpy and somewhat distracting.
The night really came alive when the lines came fast and furious as emotions oscillated wildly with the rhythm of the rebuttals. Taken in all at once, this Neil Simon soufflé was warm, comfortably fluffy and familiar to the stomach.
let the wait between the bites deter you from enjoying it all.