Reviewed by Ralph Hall
The Cider Mill Playhouse’s production of Breaking Legs by Tom Dulack is a nearly perfect defining of the 21st century term “profiling” with the added touch of humor. When you take everything one believes about a specific cultural, ethnic group and add a bit of slapstick comedy, identifiable human guilt and visible sexual overtones — all performed by a talented cast — the results have to be a great success.
Director Paul Falzone has transformed the work into an evening of great delight filled with many moments of laughter. The storyline reminds us of those moments in life when predictable bad decisions lead to terrible results with the resultant guilt driving the participants to re-write history, respond with insincere actions and to cover unbelievable bad deeds with unrealistic good ones. With the comedic overtones, this is a farce inside human tragedy.
An added twist occurs when a second ethnic profile is introduced: Italian Power vs. Irish Power! Joe Andrews, a regular talent on Broome County stages, brings a counterbalance to the macho Italian presence with his creation of an intellectual college professor who happens to be Irish. Mark Bader, Michael Arcesi and Ted Nappi all deliver outstanding performances as the family members. Arcesi keeps the pace moving and centered, while Bader consistently provides the counterpoint and illustrates a suggested cultural position that leads to tragedy and comedy. Nappi’s character often demonstrates the conflict between doing bad and not wanting to do badly. Mitch Tiffany creates a believable victim.
The twist, the turns, the teasing and, ultimately, the successful manipulation all rests with Kerrin Hawkins whose performance is very engaging. She creates a character whose personality alters as the needs mandate, producing the play’s resolve.
I caught one of the final performances of the run (March 29). Breaking Legs closes this Sunday (April 2) at the Cider Mill Playhouse, 2 S. Nanticoke Ave., Endicott. To enjoy the many laughs and humor of this production, call 748-7363 for tickets.