that of Neil Simon Bare feet in the park opened in 1963 on Broadway. The original cast starred Robert Redford and Elizabeth Ashley. In 1967, it was adapted for the cinema with Robert Redford and Jane Fonda. This play has a special connection to Pennsylvania – it was produced at the Bucks County Playhouse under the title Nobody loves Me before it aired on Broadway. This piece also has a special connection to the Oyster Mill Playhouse. Bare feet in the park highlighted several key moments in Oyster Mill’s history, and now it highlights the theater’s return to live performances. Catch this hilarious show, directed by Michael Hosler, at Oyster Mill Playhouse through November 21.
It’s the perfect show to open the live performances at Oyster Mill. It makes the audience laugh from start to finish. Every element of the production is carefully designed and produced to create something truly special. The set is lovely, going from an apartment under construction in the first act to an adorable house in the second act. The team that designed the set and brought it to life deserves a round of applause. The costumes and set work together seamlessly to transport audiences to New York City in the 1960s.
The performances of the cast of Barefoot in the Park are, in a nutshell, superb. The three-act show moves with so much energy and comedy that it feels like it’s a lot shorter than it actually is. There are many delicious “bits” throughout the show, one of the most enjoyable being the reactions of each of the characters when they enter the apartment after climbing five floors (if you don’t count the steps) . Collins Wilson and Stephen Jahn are hysterical as a phone repairman and delivery man. Their facial expressions when they finally arrive at the apartment are priceless. Wilson especially shines in the second appearance when Wilson’s character suddenly realizes he’s unwittingly walked in in the middle of a marital argument.
Anne Marino and Gordon Einhorn form a dynamic duo as Mother and Victor Velasco. Marino’s mother has a biting mind and her line delivery is impeccable. Her interactions with Sam Speraw, who plays her daughter Corie Bratter, come across as authentic mother-daughter moments. Einhorn is wonderful as an eccentric attic neighbor Victor Velasco. He is the perfect counterpart of Paul Bratter de Lebo and the accomplice of Corie de Speraw. With a wink and incredible energy, Einhorn commands the stage and holds the audience in the palm of his hand.
Sam Speraw and Josh Lebo take the stage as newlyweds Corie and Paul Bratter. They do a fantastic job with the transition from a happily married couple on the moon to a couple realizing that everything might not always be perfect. Corie de Speraw is sweet and exuberant with a touch of hopeful naivety. Le Paul de Lebo is pragmatic, down-to-earth and often exasperated. Speraw and Lebo have terrific chemistry on stage, and their quick swap keeps the show moving and makes people laugh.
Bare feet in the park is a wonderful piece that reminds us all of the importance of listening to each other, fighting for love, and sometimes learning to let go a little. For a delightful performance by a stellar cast and crew that will have you laughing from start to finish, pick up your tickets to Barefoot in the Park’s Oyster Mill production at www.oystermill.com.