Courtesy of Queens Theatre
Carey Cox and Spencer Lackey "Barefoot in the Park."

BY CLIFF KASDAN

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Consider young newlyweds Corie and Paul. It’s the early 1960s and they’ve just moved into a tiny fixer-upper in New York. She’s a free spirit. He’s very, very conservative. Will their marriage withstand the strain?

Prolific, popular playwright Neil Simon’s classic comedy “Barefoot in the Park” is still a timely tribute to New Yorker’s eccentricities. It is not a series of rapid fire jokes and pratfalls. This version is an easygoing, easy to watch glimpse of slightly confused adults. They eventually conquer their greatest enemy — self-inflicted misunderstandings!

Director Brant Russell’s selections for performers and staging have worked out well. The sets (by Akiko Rotch) are realistic, with a second hand refrigerator, patched walls and a broken windowpane. On the other hand, the skyline “flats” that are far “upstage” are clearly stylized, not realistic. After all, this charming story is all in good fun. The characters’ costumes (by EB Brooks) correctly reflect the era. 

Likable newlywed Corie is well played by Carey Cox. The entire story pivots around her view of the world. Her own website states, “I am an actor with a disability called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome … I bring bravery, empathy, discovery, and laughter to everything I do. Thank you for taking a look around …” 

Spencer Lackey plays Paul with the right amount of frustration. He’s an ambitious attorney who is much too diligent for his starry-eyed wife. There are still more off beat denizens including Jon J. Peterson. He plays Mr. Velasco, the delightful freeloader who lives in their attic. Equally eccentric is Corie’s mom, Mrs. Banks (Mhari Sandoval). She proves to be more flighty than her daughter!

Mhari Sandoval and Spencer Lackey in “Barefoot in the Park.” (Courtesy of Queens Theatre)

The telephone man (Rahoul Roy) is great comic relief.  He huffs and puffs after mounting five flights of stairs. He’s installing the newlywed’s first phone! Delivery guy Ryan Vergara rounds out these overstressed, innocent bystanders.

Well-earned bows to the entire creative and production staff including Taylor Alyssa Marun, Jessica McIlquham, Steve Wolf, Stehen Deangelis, Tyler Learned, Marcus Watson, Rebecca Kaplan, Analiese Puzon and The Haberdashers.   

More shows are just around the corner for late fall and early winter. Call 718-760-0064, visit www.queenstheatre.org or “like” them on Facebook.

As always, save me a seat on the aisle. 

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