Meadow Brook comedy is an entertaining night of theater
If you were invited to attend a comedy about a married couple who plan an annual out-of-town weekend getaway to celebrate their anniversary, you might – *yawn* – think twice about going. But when you find out the play’s “hook” – that the two are actually married to other people, and that they successfully arrange their trysts for 25 years – your interest might be aroused.
So what might seal the deal for you? How about learning that the couple is played by John Lepard and Roxanne Wellington, two of the area’s shining stars?
Directed by David L. Regal, “Same Time, Next Year” is a laugh-filled look at love – clandestine and otherwise – in a culture amid a major revolution.
Set inside a warm and spacious room at the Sea Shadows Inn, the comedy opens in 1951 with 20-somethings George and Doris professing their love after spending their first night together. George – a CPA on a business trip – and Doris – an Irish Catholic on her way to a religious retreat – met the previous night at a restaurant and were immediately smitten. Although both are happily married with children, they agree to meet at the same time each year to continue their newly-blossoming relationship.
And for the next 25 years, that’s exactly what they do.
What makes Slade’s script interesting isn’t just the characters’ unusual relationship, but the changes that occur in society that we see reflected through them every five years. It’s especially noticeable through Doris, as we observe how women transitioned from “happy, supportive, stay-at-home mom” to bra-less anti-war protester, and from a woman without a high school diploma to a rich business owner bought out by “a chain.”
George, too, experiences the pains of growth, as he makes money, loses money and, later, suffers even greater losses.
Yet despite the challenges life brings them, it’s their love for each other – and for their respective spouses – that helps them ease through the years.
Both Lepard and Wellington – as expected – are excellent in their roles. Wellington, however, has the toughest job – quickly changing wigs, costumes and attitude to reflect the appropriate year.
She’s helped along quite well by the mood-inducing music and commercials Sound Designer Mike Duncan uses during the scene changes.
And Regal’s idea to have Brian Dambacher’s beautiful set changed between scenes by Joelle Gnotek dressed and working as a hotel maid was inspired!
‘Same Time, Next Year’
Meadow Brook Theatre, Rochester. Wed.-Sun., through Feb. 4. Tickets: $22-$38. For information: 248-377-3300 or http://www.mbtheatre.com