Note: Entire Contents Copyright 2017 by Susan Nedar
The latest offering from Rhode Island Monthly's 2016 Best Live Theater venue - The Newport Playhouse - is Lunch With Mrs. Baskin by Sam Bobrick, and directed by Tony Annicone.
Although she has no intention of buying anything, Mrs. Eva Baskin, a sweet, retired widow, continuously sets up appointments with sales people solely to have lunch and conversation with them in her home. Two young sales people, Terry, who not very successfully sells garage doors and Kira, who successfully sells solar panels and has just learned that her fiance is cheating on her, accidentally meet in Mrs. Baskin's apartment. Although neither have the slightest intention of getting involved in a relationship, Mrs. Baskin thinks otherwise.
Lunch With Mrs Baskin is a delightfully light-hearted little romp, starring Newport Playhouse leading lady, Sandi Nicastro in the title role. Replete with her uneven white socks, her old-lady dusters with matching ribbons in her hair, and her trademark shuffle; Nicastro delivers a performance that will make you laugh, and make you feel a little sorry for the lonely widow whose social life revolves around door-to-door sales people...that is until she comes up with just the right adjectives for Kira's cheating fiance!
Playing garage door salesman Terry Winters is Caellum Kerr; a tall innocent looking young man, who can't believe his misfortune (or is it, his great fortune?) in wasting precious selling time in the apartment of a lonely old apartment-dwelling lady! Caellum is the perfect mix between bumbling unfortunate, and leading man. His pratfalls and facial expressions are adorable, and he lends an air of sincerity to his alternating moods.
The jilted solar panel saleswoman Kira Haskell, is played by Valerie Vaile. We meet Kira as she's sobbing about her cheating boyfriend to the very sympathetic Mrs. Baskin. Valerie keeps the waterworks running throughout her first scene, and with the help of the lady of the house, works through her pain. Comically! Valerie gives a great performance, alternating between tears and one-liners like a pro.
No romantic comedy would be complete without a blustery blow-hard dad. John Haskell is played to a tee by Jim Killavey. The rich, multiple bank-owning bloviating father who just wants his little girl happy. Jim does a great job of playing the rich guy who's calling all the shots. That is until he meets Wendell Sash, the driveway salesman! Wendell is played by the smooth-talking W. Richard Johnson, who successfully convinces dad that he needs a new decorative driveway!
Tony directs his talented cast well, keeping the pace moving and the blocking sharp. His set is a perfectly designed, little old lady's apartment, complete with too many family photos on the walls! It's screams little old lady!
This show is a cute little romp that's just kooky enough to maybe be happening in some sweet little old lady's walk-up, somewhere in a busy city, USA. And, true to form, all's well that ends well in this story too!
So for a very enjoyable evening of lighthearted comedy, be sure to check out Newport Playhouse's Lunch With Mrs. Baskin. The show runs through June 29th. And go hungry! Because only at the Newport Playhouse does the show include a delicious buffet, and cabaret aftwerward!