By JEAN BRENNER
For 21st Century Media
“Goodbye Charlie,” a pleasant romantic comedy with two hours of chuckles by George Axelrod, currently is playing at Dutch Country Players in Salford Township.
This amusing play, which includes a plot with an interesting twist, is set in Malibu, Calif. The story is about old friends Charlie Sorel and George Tracy, macho ladies’ men who shared an apartment years ago and have stayed in close contact. When Charlie is killed because he is caught with another man’s wife, George is called in to settle Charlie’s financial affairs.
After a poorly attended and tepid memorial service, George is surprised by a female visitor he slowly realizes is a reincarnated Charlie returning as a woman with all his former masculine traits which must be modified if he is to survive in his new life.
Playing the leading role of the “new” Charlie is talented actress Amy Reifinger who manages to adopt very masculine characteristics at her first appearance, but soon becomes very feminine after spending time at the local spa pretending to be Charlie’s ex-wife, while amusing herself over a pedicure as she talks with Charlie’s many former female conquests.
Later, Reifinger especially amuses the audience as she drinks excessively, becoming quite tipsy with a silly giggle. It takes an experienced actress to handle all that is required of Charlie’s role; Reifinger shows she is up to the task.
Jay Tracy interprets and acts the role of George quite well. He accepts the situation while trying to help make sense of it all, but not without dealing with some obstacles.
Charlie and George carry two thirds of the show with Liz Chiodo as Rusty appearing several times as the reserved cheating wife of the man who killed Charlie.
Others in the cast appear only briefly in the opening memorial service scene: Jayson Martin, Ray Greenley, and Bruce Crotzer.
The play appears to be trying to answer the question, “What would happen if you were reincarnated in a way that would punish you for your sins?” In a way, the question is answered, but the premise of this situation is totally preposterous. Nevertheless, with the good acting and direction, the play is quite entertaining in spite of the shallowness of the plot.
Suki Wilkie has done a commendable production is her first endeavor directing at DCP. She had the actors fully use the stage, interpret their characters and accomplish the skills needed to direct a comedy.
As always, regards to the production crew for their invaluable behind the scenes work. Audiences seldom think about the work that is required during planning, rehearsals, and the show’s run.
“Goodbye Charlie” played on Broadway for only a few months in 1960 and later re-emerged as a movie starring Debbie Reynolds and Tony Curtis in 1964 to moderate success.
Dutch “County Players is in its 61st year of performing for the community. The ambitious group has six more shows to go this 2014 season, including a children’s show in October and a Christmas show in December.
The facility is spacious with a stage that is quite large and adaptable for many kinds of shows. Stadium seats are supplemented by floor seating, permitting great performing possibilities. seats are not reserved, so arriving early permits better seating choices.
The actors were not wearing microphones. For attendees with hearing loss, that often is a problem in a big space.
An ample parking lot is adjacent to the theatre. Note: A detour on Ridge Road requires small route change.
Performances are at 8 p.m. April 18 and 19; and April 24, 25 and 26. Call (215) 234-8569.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: “Goodbye Charlie” directed by Siki Wilkie
WHERE: DCP, 795 Ridge Road, Salford Township.
WHEN: Performances at 8 p.m. April 18 and 19; and
April 24, 25 and 26.
TICKETS: $15 adults, $13 seniors/child.
Seats are note reserved.
INFO.: Check www.dcptheatre.com or call (215) 234-8569
CONNECT: On Twitter @dcptheatre