‘Barefoot in the Park’ at McLean Community Players

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The McLean Community Players are performing an enjoyable production of Barefoot in the Park, Neil Simon’s play about a mismatched couple, directed by Jerry Bonnes.

The Cast of 'Barefoot in the Park.' Photo by Caity Brown (Corie) and Will MacLeod (Paul) in their apartment on the first night in rehearsal for the McLean Community Players production of “Barefoot.” Photo by Toby Chieffo-Reidway.
The cast of ‘Barefoot in the Park.’ Photo by Irish Eyes Photography by Toby, LLC.

One of the longest-running non-musicals on Broadway, the show is now being enjoyed by scores of McLean residents, many of whom who were newlyweds themselves when it opened in 1963.

Caity Brown portrays Corie Bratter, a free-spirit who has just moved to a fifth-story walk-up in a New York brownstone with her lawyer husband Paul Bratter (Will MacLeod).

As Corie, Brown uses her big eyes and indomitable energy to persuade Paul to relax, but he has a court case in the morning.

“Opposites attract but the real drama occurs when they collide,” says Director Jerry Bonnes. “Barefoot in the Park takes us on a romp to find out whether the final result is disaster or harmony.”

MacLeod is especially good when he visibly bristles at Brown’s excuses for the apartment’s inadequacies, which include faulty plumbing and heating and a neighbor who cuts through their bedroom to get to his attic loft.

The play opens with Corie standing beneath a large skylight artfully detailed with frosty window panes by Set Designer Bill Glikbarg with Adrienne Kammer as the lead scenic painter. She is waiting for the furniture to be delivered when the phone man (Stephen T. Wheeler) arrives. From their banter it is immediately clear that Brown is one of those actresses who makes it easy for other actors to play off of.

Wheeler is convincing in his friendly role, and is aided by an authentic costume (by Charlotte Franklin) complete with a gear-belt featuring dangling phone equipment.

Corie’s mother, Mrs. Banks (Kim Thornley), arrives unexpectedly . . . and before the furniture has gotten there, much to Corie’s consternation.

“As they say in McCall’s, things won’t really take shape until the bride’s personality is developed,” Corie says.

“I think it’s you right now,” deadpans Thornley. Her excellent elocution adds to her characterization of an upper-crusty type.

The two are at their funniest when they dance around the subject of sex, and it soon becomes clear that it’s not just the newlyweds for whom it may be an option.

The couple sets up their neighbor, Mr. Velasco (played smoothly by John Geiger), with a reluctant Mrs. Banks at a dinner party. Geiger is particularly funny when he shows them how to pop a knish into their mouths. He entices them out to an Albanian place on Staten Island to drink orzo.

Caity Brown , Will MacLeod , and Kim Thornley. Photo by Irish Eyes Photography by Toby, LLC.
Caity Brown , Will MacLeod, and Kim Thornley. Photo by Irish Eyes Photography by Toby, LLC.

It is when they return to the apartment that the real hijinks begin, and in the hands of Bonnes and the cast, it is not only the characters who react off of each other, but each couple develops a personality of its own. Will Mrs. Banks and Mr. Velasco stay together? Will the Bratter’s first fight also be their last?

Come to see McLean Community Players’ fun production of Barefoot in the Park. There are many laughs to be had!

Running Time: 2 hours and 10 minutes, with a 15-minute intermission.

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Barefoot in the Park plays through May 16, 2015 at Mclean Community Players performing at The Alden Theatre at The McLean Community Center- 1234 Ingleside Avenue, in McLean, VA. For tickets purchase them by calling the box office at (703) 790-9223, by calling OvationTix at (866) 811-4111, or online. Box Office hours are: Wednesday & Thursday 5-9 PM and Friday & Saturday noon-9 PM.

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‘Barefoot in the Park’ Plays at McLean Community Players May 1-16, 2015 by Cathy Farnsworth.

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