BWW Review: SOCIAL SECURITY at Connecticut Cabaret Theatre

BWW Review: SOCIAL SECURITY at Connecticut Cabaret Theatre

On Friday, August 17, I had the pleasure of seeing yet another first-rate production at the Connecticut Cabaret Theatre in Berlin, CT, SOCIAL SECURITY, a comedy by Andrew Bergman. All six cast members shine in their roles, under the consistently superb direction of Kris McMurray. The tight stage chemistry among the entire cast and authenticity of delivery and reactions bring all six dynamic fictional personalities to life in such a powerful manner that the audience can easily forget that we are not watching a real biological family up on stage! The cast members totally sell every line and expression, by all being completely in character at all moments.

The show is set in the living room of the married couple David (Chris Brooks) and Barbara (Rachel West-Balling) who are successful art dealers. They hear that Barbara's sister Trudy (Carleigh Cappetta Schultz) and her husband Martin (Tony Galli) will be visiting to discuss a yet undisclosed important matter. David and Barbara contemplate what this situation could be, even going as far as Barbara worrying that her mother Sophie (Lori Feldman), who had been living with Martin and Trudy, may have passed away. David dismisses that idea and suggests that it might be trouble with Martin and Trudy's daughter Sarah (not appearing in show), who is eighteen years old and has just started college.

Martin and Trudy soon arrive, Trudy initially being very standoffish, like she has an axe to grind, while Martin is more sociable. Martin, an accountant, discusses the value of the various paintings on the wall, with David. David points to two different paintings that both appear to be identical blank white canvasses, and talks about their difference in values and demand, while Martin finds it ridiculous that there would be any difference. David reassures him that while they both may be painted in all white, they still are both uniquely painted, a discussion that itself brilliantly paints the picture of the worlds apart dynamics between these two brothers-in-law.

It is soon revealed that Sarah is the serious issue that Martin and Trudy wanted to discuss. David is overtly blunt in explaining to them how attractive their daughter is, and the fact that the boys at college are going to strongly desire her, sexually. He also is very casual about the reality that she may easily get into drugs at college. Barbara appears perturbed at her husband's bluntness, yet shows class and decorum in front of her sister and brother-in-law. When Martin and Trudy reveal Sarah's claim about an obsession with sex, David claims that he has been looking for someone like that all his life and was very fascinated about more information. While Trudy expresses disdain towards David at what she perceives as him flippantly joking regarding a serious issue that is emotionally devastating her, and Barbara's facial expressions clearly depict that she is not entertained by her husband's coarse words, the audience finds it hilarious, as we take his words in the context of a sarcastic brother-in-law who was pushing buttons and giving his sister-in-law and brother-in-law the business, if you will.

The blunt dialogue highlighted by many sharply delivered one-liners by David and believable outraged yet composed reactions from Barbara keeps the audience laughing throughout the show. The natural manner in which Martin and Trudy respond together at times furthermore enhances the realistic feel of the situations. It is soon revealed that Martin and Trudy were planning to go to Sarah, and that Sophie would have to stay with David and Barbara, a notion that David and Barbara were not pleased with.

The always hilarious Lori Feldman would soon enter as Sophie, using a walker, and deliberately appearing to be angry at the world. Lori Feldman's Jewish accent is spot-on, as are her mannerisms. This young actress yet again excels at playing a much older character. Further humor ensues with the tense mother/daughter dynamic between Sophie and Barbara, enhanced by Sophie's hearing difficulties. The back and forth becomes even more serious as Sophie is informed that famous elderly artist Maurice Koenig (Russell Fish) would soon arrive at the house. Sophie fails to take the matter seriously and feels no need to be appropriately dressed for the occasion.

Will Sophie be properly attired when Maurice arrives? When Maurice and Sophie meet, will sparks fly, romantically or otherwise? How will Sophie's physical well-being be impacted by Maurice? Will Sophie and Barbara resolve their bickering? How does Martin and Trudy's trip to visit Sarah turn out? What is truly going on with Sarah at college? Where will Sophie ultimately reside? Come to the show to find out!

For mature audiences, I highly recommend SOCIAL SECURITY which is scheduled to continue to run at the Connecticut Cabaret Theatre every Friday and Saturday at 8:00 PM through September 22, 2018, with the exceptions of August 31 and September 1 (Labor Day weekend.) For tickets, please go to

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From This Author Sean Fallon

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