Better not go see Weekend Comedy by playwrights Jeanne and Sam Bobrick, now playing at the New Theatre Restaurant, if you don't enjoy laughing until your ribs hurt. The guffaws come so fast and furiously during this sitcom-like show (Sam Bobrick's TV writing credits include The Andy Griffith Show, Bewitched and Get Smart) that several audience members near me were literally gasping for breath throughout the entire performance.
Cindy Williams (best-known for her role as Shirley Feeney in ABC's Laverne and Shirley) is absolutely perfect as Peggy, a long-suffering, fifty-something woman who plans a weekend in a rustic cabin hideaway to try to rekindle her unromantic husband's passion. Whether she's delivering acerbic one-liners or pouring beer down her husband's pants, Cindy's facial expressions are priceless. She can change from looking murderous to deadpan in the blink of an eye.
James Holloway and Alexis J. Rogers, as the young couple (Tony and Jill) who are assigned to the cabin for the exact same weekend by mistake, enhance this comedy of errors with their dynamic stage presences. They decide to share the cabin with the older couple, and the comedic clash between generations begins! Although Jill empathizes with Peggy's feelings, Tony reacts with horror to the prospect of spending time with a middle-aged couple in a relationship that seems boring and stifling. He is rich and spoiled and always speaks his mind, sometimes with hilarious results.
But the standout performance in the company is delivered by Tom McElroy as Peggy's husband, Frank. McElroy's Frank is almost a caricature of the insensitive male--he digs with his bare hands in the Cap'n Crunch box, then contentedly munches bits of cereal while his wife tries desperately to get him to notice her in a sexual way. McElroy garners the biggest laughs when he strips down to his tighty-whities and then confides to his wife that he thinks people are laughing at him. His comedic timing is impeccable.
Also impeccable are the menu offerings served before the show. Executive Chef Mark Webster has brought back some tried-and-true favorites (tender pork shoulders, finished with an incredibly delicious BBQ sauce; Atlantic salmon; tender boneless chicken served in a light lemon-basil wine sauce; and beef shoulder tenderloins) and paired them with a more exotic taste treat--curried Moroccan lamb, served on a bed of quinoa and barley.
The accompaniments are perfect for early spring--fresh asparagus, a vegetable medley of squash and zucchini, steamed broccoli, pasta primavera, roasted garlic potatoes, and polenta. New Theatre patrons rave about the polenta, and Webster varies its toppings enough from show to show to keep things interesting. (For Weekend Comedy, the polenta is topped with fresh parsley, garlic and onion chimichurri sauce.)