BWW Reviews: MIRACLE ON SOUTH DIVISION STREET Delights Door County
While a delightful comedy, Miracle on South Division Street builds itself on a realistic family drama. Set in Buffalo, NY, a family has grown up around a statue of the Virgin Mary commemorating their own miracle. Through out the play the Nowaks reveal the legend of their miracle and it has unforeseen effects on the family, particularly mother Clara (Peggy Roeder) and daughter Ruth (Erin Noel Grennan).
Clara Nowak's matronly ways keep the family together-and going to church, through a combination of lovable nagging and coaching. Her children Ruth, Beverly (Molly Glynn) and Jimmy (Joe Foust) work to honor her and be true to themselves. The characters may be hitting a couple of roadblocks and curve balls, but the actors comfortably switch between the business of their lives, drama and comedy.
Tom Dudzick and direction by Kristine Thatcher, the play keeps up an excellent pace. The characters are close enough to stereotypes that they can be easily identified, putting the family first, and as the plot unfolds we also learn more about everyone. Their secrets are their antagonists, and by the end the family has come out stronger.
The design team created a warm middle class kitchen full of detail and with a lived-in quality. The few transitions were punctuated by exaggerated time-of-day lighting shifts and sound. A very effective introduction to the world, these stylized moments juxtapose the reality of viewing a day at the Nowak's effectively.
Getting out of the long first scene and into the second almost felt like the end of the play. The problems had built to a satisfying climax and felt resolved. Then scene two brought a more satisfying ending and some answers about what might happen next. Perhaps scene two is meant to be more of an epilogue to the action.
The play makes for an entertaining evening of theatre, especially at the charming Peninsula Players. The grounds are right on Green Bay; their lobby is a variety of seating facing the lake or their large fire pit. Unfortunately, it was cloudy, but I am sure the sunset there is something to see. If you live a couple hours away, check out their matinee on October 20th at 4pm. Miracle on South Division Street is presented by Peninsula Players at the Penisula Players Theatre every Tuesday through Sunday at 7pm from now until the 20th. Tickets and information are available at www.peninsulaplayers.com or (920) 868-3287.