BWW Review: BAREFOOT IN THE PARK at Florida Repertory Theatre is Charmingly Comical!
Florida Repertory Theatre's production of BAREFOOT IN THE PARK, directed by Florida Rep's Artistic Director, Greg Longenhagen, is a fun rom-com that tells the story of a newlywed couple moving into a new apartment and all the ups and downs of their first couple weeks of marriage.
Hannah McKechnie plays Corie Bratter, the new wife of Brian Hatch's character, Paul Bratter. Corie is thrilled to be moving in to their new apartment together, even if it needs a little bit of love. She has a positive and energetic spirit, though she's sometimes a little dramatic and overly emotional (but really, who isn't at times?). I really enjoyed McKechnie's portrayal of Corie's personality in contrast to Hatch's Paul. Paul is much more serious and logical than Corie, and of course this resulted in some conflict, which was very entertaining to watch.
Corie also tries to set her mother, Ethel Banks (Katrina Ferguson), up with their new neighbor, Victor Velasco (V Craig Heidenreich). Victor is a bit more adventurous and wild, whereas Ethel is more proper and traditional, and it was absolutely hilarious to see them interact. During the second act, all four of them go out to dinner, and the aftermath of this had the audience absolutely rolling with laughter. Victor and Corie's lively personalities and high energy afterward were a stark contrast to the exhausted reactions of Paul and Ethel. It was definitely one of my favorite parts of the show.
BAREFOOT IN THE PARK is very lighthearted and fun, but it still holds a great lesson about love and what it takes to resolve conflict. There's a sentimentality to it, and I really appreciate that in a comedy. From Corie and Paul navigating big disagreements within their first several days of marriage to Ethel reigniting romance in her life because of Victor, it was a very cute and enjoyable story. There's something for everyone to enjoy in this sweet, hilarious show; I guarantee you'll find yourself laughing many times throughout it and leaving with a satisfying sense of hope and love. I highly recommend getting your tickets now!
BAREFOOT IN THE PARK is playing in Florida Rep's Historic Arcade Theatre now through January 29. Performances are Tuesday-Thursday at 7 PM, Friday-Saturday at 8 PM, with 2 PM matinees on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. To buy tickets, you can visit www.floridarep.org, call Florida Rep at 239-332-4488, or stop by the box office at 2268 Bay Street, Fort Myers, FL, 33901.
Photo Credit: Bryelle Dafeldecker