By Melanie Nelson, Independent Reviewer
There is something about St. Croix Off Broadway Dinner Theatre’s production of “Barefoot in the Park” that makes you laugh, makes you sad, makes you remember the excitement of your first apartment and your first week of marriage, and makes you realize how quick we can be to befriend service workers who visit our homes... this thing is the performance of Valarie Falken.
"This was not my first evening with the Bratters, but I will say it was the best."
Falken embodies the charm and naivety in her character Corie Bratter. The new “Mrs. Bratter” is trying to make a home out of their tiny fifth floor New York apartment as the show begins. She is in love with love and exudes happiness through conversations with the telephone repairman, the delivery man, her mother, and finally her stuffy new husband. Our eyes are on her as she flits across the stage bounding out of one happy conversation to the next with fellow veteran St. Croix Off Broadway actors.
When the reality of marriage sets in, a mere few days after the wedding, Corie suddenly knows she’ll never be able to please her husband as he is too interested in his job as a lawyer. We witness the couple escalate a silly little tiff into an argument of monumental proportions in a tennis match of wits. Though neither mentions the word “bed,” it soon turns into a game to see who will end up sleeping on their twin bed alone and who will be stuck out on the couch under the falling snow from a broken skylight.
This Neil Simon comedy is no stranger to the stage. It pops up in theatres every few years because it’s a fantastic script. This was not my first evening with the Bratters, but I will say it was the best. The whole cast comes together in a very believable team, all of who, as characters, are as charmed with young Corie as I was. She is a wonderful centerpiece for the show.
Some really neat things to watch for are how director Jim Zimmerman cleverly has the cast dress the set in character at the top of the first intermission, a unique way to get the filled apartment set in place in such an intimate venue, and the music. Zimmerman always does a fantastic job wrapping the play with music of its day to truly put you into another world.
What to order? This is dinner theatre after all. Boy, this meal was good. You get your choice of a fish, beef, pork, poultry, or vegetarian dinner with salad and sides. I had the pork with the Kentucky barbeque sauce and it was wonderful. My husband’s steak was excellent too – no need for steak sauce. But our favorite part of dinner was the sweet potatoes that came with the steak dinner. They were lightly breaded and deep fried to perfection.
“Barefoot in the Park” at St. Croix Off Broadway Dinner Theatre, located at the Best Western Hudson House Inn in Hudson, WI, runs Fridays and Saturdays through October 30. The price of $52 includes dinner off a menu; coffee, pop, tea, or milk; show; tip; and tax. You can get your tickets by calling (715)386.2394 ext. 333 or order them on-line at www.stcroixoffbroadway.com
I can't think of a better venue than your theatre. Yes, we have The Phipps, Fanny Hill, etc., but when my sisters-in-law came for the play last year, we were treated so special. The food was wonderful, and we got to go on stage to take pictures with the "cop" in the play. Keep it up!
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St. Croix Off Broadway Dinner Theatre
1616 Crest View Drive, Hudson, WI 54016 Box Office: (715)386.2394 ext. 333
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