Review: ‘The War of the Roses’ at Delaware Theatre Company

Based on the iconic novel-turned-film of the same title, The War of the Roses follows the legendary Jonathan and Barbara Rose as their seemingly perfect marriage devolves into a deadly search and destroy mission for each other’s most prized possessions.

Author Warren Adler has turned playwright in this adaptation of his book. Telling the story of a once ideal high-powered family through the messy divorce (and messy is an understatement), this play adaption rivals its predecessors.

Jack Noseworthy and Christina DeCicco. Photo by Matt Urban, Mobius New Media.
Jack Noseworthy and Christina DeCicco. Photo by Matt Urban, Mobius New Media.

DTC Artistic Director Bud Martin brings this season opener to life with gusto. With talks of moving to New York, Martin leads the journey with clarity, fun, and darkness.

Christina DeCicco and Jack Noseworthy as Jonathan and Barbara Rose are as beautiful and prickly as their namesake. Their comedic timing, heightened emotion, and unbounding hatred of one another make the title characters a joy to watch.

Jonathan and Barbara deliver most of the story simultaneously to their separate divorce lawyers, who do not disappoint. Barbara’s classy lawyer Thurmont (Cameron Folmar) is in exact opposition to Jonathan’s ex-rabbi divorce lawyer Goldstein (Lenny Wolpe). The two have their own constant flow of zingers, and work as cohorts to marvel at the insanity of the Roses as time goes on.

The rest of the cast is filled out by Adam Altman, Eric Kramer, Brian McCann, Kerry Kristine McElrone, and Karen Peakes, adding more energy and hijinks to the already absurd story. Specifically, the dinner party at the Roses home will have you rolling in your seats.

Scenic Design by Paul Tate de Poo III wows. The first part of the show is set in the lawyer’s office on a beautiful marble floor. But when the drop flies out and reveals the gorgeous real-sized home behind, the audience couldn’t help but applaud. I wish I could live in that exquisitely designed set!

The Ensemble and Jack Noseworthy. Photo by Matt Urban, Mobius New Media. ©2016 Matt Urban.
The Ensemble and Jack Noseworthy. Photo by Matt Urban, Mobius New Media.

Costumes by Wade Laboissoneire fit this 2016 high powered Washington D.C. world with clothes anyone could be waring. The costumes even add a punchlines. Thurmont enters each scene dressed in the attire for another rich hobby: tennis, polo, golf, and many more. It was both hilarious and fashionable.

Lighting design by Rob Denton helps to shape the multiple elements of the story. While the play jumps between several different times and places constantly, Denton keeps the worlds consistent and clear. The practical lighting fixtures in the home are enviable and stunning.

Though the novel was written 40 years ago, the issues and hijinks ring as outrageous and yet relatable as today. The Roses are ruthless, but you can’t help but love them.

Who knew divorce could be so fun? Catch Delaware Theatre Company’s North American Premiere before The War of The Roses is over!

Running time: One hour and 45 minutes, with one 15-minute intermission.

The War of the Roses plays through October 2, 2016 at Delaware Theatre Company – 200 Water Street, in Wilmington, Delaware. For tickets, call the box office at (302) 594-1100, or purchase them online.