Theatre Review: “Bermuda Avenue Triangle” @ Hillbarn Theatre, 01/22/10

The whole time I sat watching Bermuda Avenue Triangle, I thought it was called Bermuda Love Triangle. How did I mix this up? Very easily, since the whole premise of the story is about a “love” triangle between the two New York widows, Tess (Monica Cappuccini) and Fannie (Melody Cole), and their lover, Jonny Paolucci (Tom Baxley). (Does that sound like a ménage à trois? Kind of – but I’ll explain.) It takes place in Las Vegas in 2003. Tess and Fannie’s daughters, Angela (Kathleen Gabriel) and Rita (Heather Galli) decide to send their mothers to a Las Vegas retirement condo on Bermuda Avenue. When they walk into their brand new condo they are welcomed by pink and lime green walls, wicker furniture and Bermuda-styled decorations. Tess quickly calls it a “Pepto-Bismol nightmare”. Both widows are unforgiving to their daughters in different ways. Tess, a cursed Irish-Italian New Yorker, won’t let up on how her daughter, Angela, is exiling her to Las Vegas with no friends or family. And Fannie’s Jewish mother, Rita, just won’t stop crying. Ever.

Then suddenly, everything changes when a smooth-talking con man, Johnny Paolucci, enters into their lives.

After Tess and Fannie are almost mugged on their adventure outing, with the other senior citizens in their complex, Paolucci saves the day with a very drunk daring move thwarting off the mugger. The widows are so thankful they bring Paolucci home and he quickly passes out on their floor.

Morning arrives and Paolucci instantly puts on the swarm, but on both women – separately, without the other knowing.

Instantly both women are changed. They literally morph into hot Las Vegas showgirls, complete with sequence, purple tights, short skirts, new hair-dos and a new outlook on life – all thanks to Johnny Paolucci (who’s taking hundreds of dollars from them and gambling it all away). Hilarity ensues.

Bermuda Avenue Triangle has a fantastic, hilarious script that kept me laughing from beginning to end, thanks to the first-rate acting by Cappuccini and Cole. They really held this show together. They played so well off each other and their manic behavior was never overdone or played in a way that was “looking” for a laugh. Since they were both so genuine with their approach, they truly were hysterical. I don’t think I’ve ever said “Oh My Gosh!” so incredulously in a production before and I was usually referring to some outrageous thing Tess or Fannie said or did. (There’s only SO much you can take when your watching 60-70 year old women talking about sex!)

The direction by Ron Lopez, Jr. was fantastic. His use of blocking in this space was spot-on. Each character always had business to do around the condo, but never in a way that was futile – each movement was purposeful and motivated. It was creative and very effective. The only thing I felt needed a little work was the space between scenes. It felt a little too long and broke up the continuity of the production. But, overall the production runs smoothly and your stomach will hurt from laughing so hard.

Bermuda Avenue Triangle is a smash hit.

Bermuda Love Triangle at Hillbarn Theatre

January 22 through February 7th

1285 East Hillsdale Boulevard in Foster City

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