Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Dinner With the Boys @ the Acorn Theatre @ Theater Row

Ever wonder what happens to the guys that leave the mob family, or rather
get kicked out? Well all you have to do is go to the Acorn Theatre and see, Dinner
with the Boys. From the moment you walk into the theatre classic Italian songs blare
and you instantly feel the sense of home.

The entire show takes place in Dom and Charlie’s kitchen and patio. Dom,
being the cook, naturally has a full kitchen of vegetables, fruits, and wine. The real treat is the actors use real food so you have the aroma of fresh garlic.

The story is simple. Charlie, an old hit man, failed at killing his mark, which happened to be his best friend. With that Charlie and Dom were sent away into hiding. Dom being the nice, friendly guy who “just cooks” begs Charlie to talk about past hits. Charlie being a true storyteller gets swept up in his stories and will tell anyone who asks.  We learn a lot through the stories that Charlie paints; the most important is the fear they both have for Big Anthony Jr. The banter between Richard Zavaglia (Dom) and Dan Lauria (Charlie) is enjoyable to watch and makes you grin from ear to ear. They are almost the Italian version of the Odd Couple.

 But the story really takes off when Ray Abruzzo who plays Big Anthony Jr comes on stage. From his entrance he brings an energy that is undeniable and so much fun to watch. He takes physical comedy to another level, be careful sitting in the front row you might get some lettuce on you!

Dan Lauria who also served as the playwright did a great job filling the script with witty one-liners and classic jokes poking fun at the mob and a classic Italian family. Director, Frank Megna, did a fantastic job building the jokes to make sure they would land and all audience members would understand them. Comedy comes in threes! This play was at its best when all organized chaos was occurring. The witty jokes with the physical comedy were golden, and I wish I had a replay button so I could watch each characters reaction!

Dinner with the Boys could have ended at intermission, and I really had no idea what the rest of the story had in place for us. But the boys get a surprise visitor, which is both suspenseful and hysterical. Again, Ray Abruzzo does impressive character work, which is so enjoyable to watch.  All in all I was glad there was a second act to see where these wise guys ended up.

This play really makes you feel like you are at a family dinner filled with stories you have heard before until someone lets out a secret and all hell breaks loose. Dinner with the Boys is full of ups and downs and twists that sometimes you can predict but in the end still give you a good chuckle.

Review By: Briana Burnside
Photos By: SuzAnne Barabas

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