AISLE SAY San Francisco


by Paul Weitz
Directed by Austin Edgington
Presented by Dragon Productions
Dragon Productions Theatre
2120 Broadway St., Redwood City, CA / (650) 493-2006

Reviewed by Judy Richter

As the audience files into Dragon Theatre for the opening of its 15th season, a recording of Ethel Merman singing this line, "There's no people like show people," can be heard.

It's an apt way to settle into "Show People," Paul Weitz's often funny salute to the people who bring plays and musicals to life.

As the play opens, two actors, Marnie (Monica Cappuccini) and Jerry (Bill Davidovich), who have been married to each other for a long time, are arriving at a beach house owned by Tom (Casey Robbins). He has hired them for the weekend to impersonate his parents in order to impress his live-in girlfriend, Natalie (Sara Renée Morris).

She in turn tries to impress them. For example, she bakes blueberry muffins, but she adds some horseradish, rendering them almost inedible, but everyone else is too polite to say so.

To say much more about the plot as it twists and turns would be to spoil the surprises except to say that little is as it seems on the surface. However, one thing is clear: Despite all the trial and tribulations Marnie and Jerry have gone through over the years, they still love each other and the theater.

Astutely directed by Austin Edgington, all four actors fully inhabit their characters and their shifting relationships while mining both the humorous and the serious moments of the play.

Cappuccini's performance as Marnie is especially noteworthy. In addition to impeccable comic timing, she relays volumes with her unspoken reactions to various situations and the other characters.

The tall, deep-voiced Davidovich allows Jerry to be something of a ham most of the time, but he can also tone him down to become serious and sincere when necessary. Robbins as Tom and Morris as Nataliel are believable.

Kirsten Royston's two-level set, with lighting by Leonardo Hidalgo, works well in Dragon's intimate space. The character-appropriate costumes are by Jeff Hamby, the sound by Jesse Scarborough.

This 2006, two-act play runs just over two hours with one intermission. It's an enjoyable production for the audience and a great way for the company to begin its new season.

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