‘Red Hot’ Comedy in Poulsbo

Good times at the Jewel Box 7/19 for Neil Simon’s "The Last of the Red Hot Lovers." Funny play, good production, excellent acting all around.

Here are a few excerpts from the review posted at kitsapsun.com:

Barney Cashman has got to be the worst adulterer of all time.
But he just might also be the funniest. His feeble attempts at a midlife affair are the basis for Neil Simon’s “The Last of the Red Hot Lovers,” currently on offer at the Jewel Box Theatre.
Because its late-60s setting seems somewhat dated, the play doesn’t have some of the punch it might’ve had a few decades ago. But I’m still glad director Michael Payne chose to leave it there, without any attempts at updates or injections of new-millennium relevance, because this way Simon’s play, with its parade of jokes and sardonic one-liners, can be appreciated on its own merits.
So can the performances by Payne’s four actors, led by David Siskin in the by-necessity tour-de-force role of Barney.

Siskin skillfully lets us see both sides of Barney — the nebbish who worries that he might smell too much like the fish restaurant he runs, and the increasingly frustrated man-thing who wants to exercise what’s left of his testosterone before it’s too late. It’s a terrific performance of great humor, pathos, restraint … and let’s not forget vigor.
The three women with whom Barney so ineptly attempts hook-ups — the jaded sex addict Elaine, the freako lounge singer Bobbi (a fantastic local debut by Melissa Steele) and the damaged wife of his best friend, Jeanette (Michelle Peterson) — all are played with equal aplomb.

Largely, I found the production agreeable, the material sturdy (if dated) and the performances admirable — particularly the he-man outing by Siskin and the giddy local debut by Steele.
Never mind what Barney can’t get. He can still get laughs.

‘The Last of the Red Hot Lovers’
Who: Jewel Box Theater
What: Comedy by Neil Simon
Where: Jewel Box Theatre, 225 Iverson St., Poulsbo
When: Through Aug. 16; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. matinees Aug. 3 and 10
Tickets: $14 to $12
Information: (360) 779-9688, jewelboxpoulsbo.org

More later. — MM

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