BWW Review: BAREFOOT IN THE PARK, Pitlochry Festival Theatre
What happens after the honeymoon? Do opposites really attract? Neil Simon's hit play, Barefoot in the Park, has been revived and is currently running at Pitlochry Festival Theatre, in collaboration with the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh.
Originally produced in 1963, and later adapted into a 1967 film, Barefoot in the Park follows the antics of newlyweds Corie (Jessica Hardwick) and Paul (Olivier Huband) as they settle into their new lives in a fifth-floor Brownstone apartment in Greenwich Village.
The comedy peeks inside the home as delivery staff and visitors come and go. The original production ran for nearly four years on Broadway.
Hardwick is delightfully impulsive and excitable as Corie, giddy in her post-nuptial state. She has great chemistry with Huband who plays Paul with a great mix of sincerity and silliness.
Hamish Clark steals many scenes as their flamboyant neighbour, Victor Velasco, although his Hungarian accent is unconvincing at times.
Clare Grogan gives a fine performance as Corie's mother, Ethel, exasperated from the many flights of stairs and the antics of her daughter.
This play is set in the couples' apartment, a gorgeous '60s inspired set-up decked out in aesthetically pleasing pastel hues, designed by Adrian Rees. It wouldn't look out of place in any New York-based sitcom. It's worth pointing out for fans of the film that additional film scenes in other locations like the restaurant are not part of the play.
Lighting design by Kate Bonney keeps the stage bright and cheery, with bright blues and purples used to evoke the cityscape. Julie Carlin's costumes have a stylish vintage quality to them and perfectly match the character who wears them, from Corie's fuchsia frock to Victor's suave smoking jacket.
Elizabeth Newman's direction ensures the energy on stage never drops for a second. The two acts fly by at a joyful pace as drama ensues between the residents and their visitors. A certain scene involving illness naturally garners the largest laughs of the evening given current times.
Barefoot in the Park is a charming celebration of love and an exploration of life beyond the honeymoon period. It is a gently funny and highly enjoyable piece of escapism for fans of the film and those coming across the love story for the first time.
Barefoot in the Park at Pitlochry Festival Theatre until 29 March and Royal Lyceum Edinburgh from 3 April