by DICK KEREKES
Players by the Sea presented the Florida premiere of Daniel Stern’s Barbara’s Wedding.
The run continues through a February 21st 8pm performance. This is Stern’s first play and debuted in 2003. He is probably familiar to you as an actor from his role in Home Alone movies 1&2, where he teamed with Joe Pesci as the two dumb crooks chasing young Macaulay Culkin. Both movies have been extremely popular and show up on TV frequently at Christmas time.
Mr. Stern had a home in Malibu and one day heard helicopters flying over head going to Barbara Streisand’s wedding. He found the incident very humorous and so the idea for the play was born.
His two only two characters, Jerry and Molly, husband and wife, fight, bicker, insult each other for most of the 90 minutes, until finally reaching a conclusion I shall not reveal. Along the way the audience roared with laughter at the neurotic Jerry, an unemployed former TV sitcom actor, and his librarian wife who is slightly ditzy and a bit crazy herself.
Jerry is upset that he was not invited to the wedding and he keeps looking out his front window watching and dropping the names of the arriving guests. The fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Humvee is blocking their drive way and TV crews have set up cameras on their lawn does not help, especially since Molly has decided she has had it with the pathetic Jerry and packed her bags to leave him but can’t get out of the neighborhood.
Any play with only two characters is always difficult to do since if some chemistry does not exist, it just does not work very well. Director Rebecca Williams has cast this show with exceptionally gifted actors in Barbara Colaciello Williams (no relation) and Jon Fine, so that the play zips along at a fast pace with never a dull moment. Two-hander shows can also become very static but Director Williams keeps her characters moving around this Malibu home like two long tail cats in a room full of rocking chairs.
Barbara Williams is Educational Director for Players, an award winning director and terrific standup comic as she proved in her one woman show Life on the Diagonal that she debuted at Players and took to New York last year.
I think this is Jon Fine’s Player’s debut, but he has been busy at the Beach with ABET in The Foreigner, Social Security and To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday. Fine appears to be selective about the roles he does and could be on the boards all the time with his talent.
The setting of this modest Malibu California bungalow stuck in among those mansions is excellent, and is very elaborate. More often than not, most shows done in the studio/blackbox 75 seat theatre tend to be more minimalistic than this gem by Joe Schwarz, David Paul, Lee Hamby and Zeina Salme.
The funniest scene in the show is when Jerry dons his white tails tux (courtesy of Michaels Formal Wear), determined to go to the wedding because he thinks Robert Redford has waved , beckoning him to the party. A lot of the humor reminded me of television comedies, but in the skillful and professional hands of these two performers, who could turn the water into wine, a lot of laughs ensued.
The last three performances are sure to be a hot ticket item, especially when word of mouth gets around, so call 249-0289 and cross your fingers and you may get lucky.
by DICK KEREKES