Tucked away in a strip shopping center in Annapolis is Compass Rose Theater. Though the space is small, the theater’s production of Neil Simon’s 1960’s classic, Barefoot in the Park, is big — or at least delivered in a big way.
Brianna Letourneau bursts onto the stage as Corie Bratter. Vivacious and enthusiastic, the young newlywed is impatiently waiting for the furniture to arrive at her and her husband’s new, 5th-floor Manhattan apartment. Immediately, Letourneau pulls the audience into Corie’s optimistic world, exhibiting her excitement of what lies ahead for the couple. Brianna plays Corie as a strong, independent woman yet willing shows her new husband that she is eager to please her man — especially when she deeply kisses him.
Truly an enjoyable production…
Enter Brandon McCoy who portrays Paul Bratter. Brandon and Brianna ignite with chemistry on stage and are amazing to watch. Paul is a strait-laced and reasonable lawyer, but he is also a sexy husband who is completely in love with his wife. McCoy shows the audience both sides of Paul in a very real way.
A great scene with a great message is Corie and Paul’s fight after having dinner with Corie’s mother, Ethel Banks (Lucinda Merry-Browne), and their neighbor Victor Velasco (R. Scott Williams). Corie says, “You know what you are, Paul? You’re a watcher…There are watchers in this world, and there are doers. And the watchers sit around watching the doers do. Well, tonight you watched and I did.” Letourneau and McCoy delivered this scene with gusto and passion, as do Merry-Browne and Williams.
The roles of Ethel Banks and Victor Velasco are the comic relief, and both Merry-Browne and Williams’ deliver with perfect timing. It is quite entertaining watching all these actors play off of each other and observe how the characters are reflections of each other. Corie wants to emulate Victor, while Paul and Ethel question Corie and Victor’s boundless joy for life.
Veteran actor Thomas “Toby” Hessenauer plays the Telephone Man, who lends support to Corie and in turn reveals little tidbits about her life. Hessenauer is charming yet manages to keep his character neutral regarding all of the little challenges that are starting to build for newlyweds Corie and Paul.
Truly an enjoyable production.
Running Time: 2 hours with one 15-minute intermission.
Barefoot in the Park runs through March 3, 2013 at Compass Rose Theater, 1011 Bay Ridge Avenue, Annapolis, MD. For tickets call (410) 980-6662 or click here.