BWW Reviews: BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS is an Exceptional Piece of Michigan Theatre!
The Village Players of Birmingham's production of Bright Beach Memoirs is an absolute joy to experience. The funny, yet touching Neil Simon play is brought to life by a group of actors that make the audience truly believe they are watching the antics of the Jerome family in post-Depression, pre-war-era Brooklyn under the fantastic direction of Michael A. Gravame.
Brighton Beach Memoirs is a unique in a way as Simon wrote it part narration and part straight play, which this cast pulls off phenomenally. Antonio Cipriano plays 15-year-old Eugene Jerome, who narrates the show through his journal entries, and is absolutely outstanding. He is just a joy to watch on stage and truly brings the character of Eugene to life with his endearing qualities and great comedic timing. The fantastic Janie Minchella portrays the overbearing, yet lovable mother Kate Jerome. Her interactions with the entire cast are the one the best parts of the show because she helps bring out the best in all of them. Salvatore Sbrocca is great as the older brother Stanley Jerome and brings a lot of heart and comedy to his character. The father, Jack Jerome, is played by Tony Amato, who has a strong stage presence, yet knows how to share stage and help the other actors shine as well. Cathie Badalamenti, Kate Dickinson, and Noel Stanley are Blanche, Nora, and Laurie Morton respectively. They work well as a separate family, but fit right in with the Jerome family and their crazy chaos. The entire cast works well together as a family. It really feels as though they have grown up together and are living in a small house in Brooklyn, and that as an audience member, you are given the chance to peek into their lives. It is very rare to see such a group of actors work so well together, but the entire cast of Brighton Beach Memoirs does just this.
Director Gravame has done a standout job with this production. From start to finish, the entire show is cohesive and flowed wonderfully, even the quiet parts in the production spoke loudly with the way it was staged. He truly has an understanding of Simon's play and what it is meant to be from the comedy to the heart and that can be seen from every aspect of this production. Brighton Beach Memoirs is truly a delight and gem of an experience, one to be highly recommended for Michigan theatre.
Brighton Beach Memoirs is currently running until February 1st at The Village Players of Birmingham. For more information or tickets, visit www.birminghamvillageplayers.com.