Barefoot in the Park delivers its share of laughs

Jennifer Byrd

News Editor

Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park” premiered in the H.B. Atkinson Theatre on Feb 14 and ran through Feb 17.

The play opens with newlywed Corrie Bratter, played by Hailey Moore, desperately trying to apply the finishing touches to a drafty and overpriced New York apartment. She wants everything perfect before her husband, Paul Bratter, played by Jeramie Holman, arrives home from work.

Paul and Corrie seem like complete opposites. Paul is a stuffed shirt lawyer, just starting to make a name for himself. He is practical and reserved in every way. Corrie, on the other hand, is a free spirit. She is an impractical optimist with enough charisma for the both of them.

The action really starts when Mrs. Banks, Corrie’s eccentric mother, played by Rena Vann, drops by unexpectedly. Like most overbearing mothers, she is critical of her daughter’s choices, but unlike most mothers, she does it in a humorous way.

The funniest scene in the play is when Corrie’s brilliant idea to set her mother up on a blind date with their kooky neighbor, Mr. Velasco, played by Matthew Herdman, backfires.

While Corrie and Mr. Velasco run off to get coffee, Paul and Mrs. Banks slowly make their way up five flights of stairs. Jeramie Holman and Rena Vann are hilarious together as they re-enter the apartment, disheveled and drunk.

Supporting roles by Dvonte Stuart, as the telephone repairman, and Jake Searock, as the delivery guy, are also worth mentioning. Both actors complemented the main characters well and elicited their fair share of laughs from the audience.

“Barefoot in the Park” is Rena Vann’s first production at Rose State and was perhaps the highlight of the play. Her comedic timing is highly tuned and her facial expressions are laugh out loud hilarious. Keep an eye on this young lady, as she is sure to have many more successful roles in her future.

“Barefoot in the Park” is the student theatre’s third of four productions for the 2012 – 2013 season. “Short and Sweet: A Ten Minute Play Festival” is the final play this spring and runs April 18 – 21 in the H.B. Atkinson Theatre.

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