Reviewed by Tony Annicone
The current show at the Newport Playhouse is the romantic comedy “Baggage” by Sam Bobrick. Two difficult and single people, Bradley and Phyllis, both trying to heal from their respective disappointing relationships, get their luggage mixed up at the airport. After a very disagreeable first encounter, the two decide to help each other get over their heartaches by forcing a friendship that eventually leads to the two discovering that while they may be too difficult for everyone else in the world, but they are perfect for each other. Throw in an analyst who speaks directly to the audience as well as to Bradley and Phyllis and a kooky female friend of Phyllis and you have the ingredients for this very funny comedy.
Director Daniel Lee White casts these four roles beautifully and gives them clever shtick to perform to keep the audience laughing merrily.The beautiful set is by Tonya Killavey. Rick Bagley tackles the role of the shrink and delivers the goods with his clever repartee with the audience. He also keeps them in line with clever comic one liners. The shrink is trying to sell his three books and tells the audience that this romantic relationship will never work out. Then an unexpected turn of events takes place after a hilarious word association game that left the audience in stitches. Pretty brunette Olivia Sahlin plays the ice cold Phyllis who puts Bradley in his place all night long. She has many caustic lines that hit pay dirt constantly. Phyllis is reminiscent of Lilith Crane from “Cheers.” Her best scene is the split personality scene where she talks back and forth to herself as the insecure girl and the cold in control at all times persona.
Hilarious as Bradley is Michael Gregory who cries at the drop of a hat at every reminder of his ex-wife. His weeping leaves the crowd in stitches. Michael also delivered the goods earlier in the season in “Romantic Comedy” in a very serious role so this one shows off his comic prowess. Michael is reminiscent of Jackie Gleason in this role with his line delivery and comic timing. Making her Newport Playhouse mainstage debut is Kristina Horan who recently graduated from Manhattanville College this May. She is a scream as this wacky woman as she appears on the scene. Kristina makes a gangbusters entrance and keeps the crowd entranced all night long. She tells Phyllis that she must have sex for her relationship to succeed. After all Mitzi has been married three times. There is an unexpected but comic twist near the end to show that one must also rid themselves of emotional baggage as well to be sure to find happiness. Also playing Mitzi at alternating performances is Ahnie Berl. So for a brand new comedy that will leave you laughing in the aisles, be sure to catch “Baggage” at Newport Playhouse. You will enjoy an all you can eat buffet of many varied and delicious food selections and after the show is a fun filled cabaret with songs and jokes that will keep you thoroughly entertained from start to finish.
BAGGAGE (7 July to 1 September)
Newport Playhouse, 102 Connell Highway, Newport, RI
1(401)848-7529 or www.newportplayhouse.com