Saturday, August 4, 2012

Barn Players "Parallel Lives" review by BobEvans

A Room Full of Crazies
Rating: 4

Parallel Lives
The Barn Players, Inc.

I had no idea what to expect. I knew who Kathy Najimy is because of "Sister Act" and "Victoria's Closet". What I learned is that she is a gifted, talented actress a few bricks shy of a full load - and I discovered this after seeing The Barn's version of "Parallel Lives", which Najimy co-wrote with Mo Gaffney. Since seeing The Barn's version, I watched YouTube clips of the original performers.

For The Barn, director Tiffany Garrison Schweigert changed a two-woman show to include a cast of six asylum escapees who deliver the various skits with solid characterizations and a myriad of personas. In the original format, only two actresses develop and portray the nearly 80 characters. By cutting, editing, and adding more actors, Garrison allows her cast to fully develop the different personas they portray.

I liked all of the six women who shared the stage, but my favorites have to be Helena Cosentino, Jennifer Coville, and Vicki Kerns. Every skit, every character, every gesture was funny. Vicki plays Bambi's mother and Dumbo's mother in one skit and will have you in stitches. In another skit with Helena, she is an elderly, retired woman who, for lack of anything else to do, delved into Women's Studies at a local college and the results are hilarious. But, the two woman skit goes over the top with Helena as her sidekick. As for Jennifer, she's funny as Ethel Mermaid, mother of Ariel, and again as a male character in the last big skit of the evening. Helena, again delivers an outstanding character as a drunk cowboy hitting nightly on the same married woman. Jennifer and Vicki team twice as Supreme Being deciding and then reviewing the plight of humans to begin both acts. Each of these actresses worked well with the other three cast members, and while all six are really funny, Helena, Jennifer and Vicki stand apart.

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