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BWW Review: RIPCORD at The Theatre Group At SBCC


Running October 13-30 at the Garvin Theatre

BWW Review: RIPCORD at The Theatre Group At SBCC

The cast of the SBCC Theatre Group's Ripcord are having fun on stage-and it shows, in this delightful play by David Lindsey-Abaire, directed by Katie Laris. A play about rediscovering a thrill for life, this tale takes place (mostly) at the Bristol Place Senior Living Facility in New Jersey. Abby (Leslie Ann Story) is an unpleasant, complaining resident who is paired with the chipper Marilyn (Ann Dusenberry) in a double room. Abby wants the room to herself, and rejoices when Mrs. Moore on the first floor kicks the bucket; but Marilyn knows a good room, and won't be displaced. This odd couple finds common ground in a bet for prime real estate: Marilyn tries to scare Abby, and Abby tries to make Marilyn angry in a series of pranks that get progressively meaner. Both Story and Dusenberry are engrossing as the competitive roommates, and the production offers wit, heart, and a sense of exuberance.

The rest of the cast is equally strong. Shannon Saleh and Justin Davanzo are the scene-stealing daughter and son-in-law (and co-conspirators in Marilyn's schemes); Nicholis Sheley is the sweetly firm Scotty, a staff member at the residence home; and Justin Stark offers comedy as Marily's skydiving son, Lewis, and drama as Abby's son with a troubled past, Benjamin. Characterizations were very natural, and movement on stage was purposeful and present.

A highlight of the production was the set design, by Patricia L. Frank. Frank is known to produce beautiful interior spaces, and the residence room at the Bristol Place Senior Living Facility, where much of the action takes place, is appropriately homey and utilitarian. The fun comes when the set of Abby and Marilyn's room fades backward upstage and the sets for other locations are revealed. One scene, which takes place in a haunted house, is a creative use of smaller set piece to move the actors through a series of spooky locales. Another scene takes place in (and out of!) an airplane, using only the performers as set pieces. There's a sense of cleverness to these more figurative sets, and they engage the audience's imagination.

Ripcord is fun piece to launch SBCC's 75th season, one with a sense of humor that takes a smart look at relatable interpersonal issues. The show runs at the Garvin Theatre through October 30.

by David Lindsey-Abaire
directed by Katie Laris

October 13-30
The Garvin Theatre, SBCC

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