Silly Simon spoof opens Ocean State Theatre's 1st season


Warwick’s new theatre has officially opened its inaugural season with “Fools,” Neil Simon’s “Comic Fable.”

The good news is that the sets by Kimberly V. Powers are brilliantly colored in true storybook fashion, and the costumes by Marilyn Salvatore add to the brilliance. In addition, director Amiee Turner has assembled a fine cast of seasoned actors, led by Matthew Rickard, who plays the new schoolteacher, Leon Tolchinski.

The not-as-good news is that Simon’s play is far from his best. While it didn’t do well on Broadway, it is frequently performed at the college and community theatre level. The author pulls out every dumb joke in the book, including a number of groaners and puns. Running jokes often fall flat, while others tickled the funnybones of the receptive audience.

Leon has come to the small Russian village of Kulyenchikov, unaware that a curse has been put on its people, who are all ridiculously ignorant. He has an hour to break the curse. He immediately falls in love with Sophia (Alyssa Gorgone), and attempts to teach her such elementary lessons as one and one are two.

There is a villain (Bruce Warren), as there is in most fables, and a number of townspeople who have a chance to be as stupid as Sophia.

If you like your entertainment on the silly side, you’ll enjoy “Fools,” which plays through February 10 at the beautiful theatre at 1245 Jefferson Blvd., only a short distance from the Greenwood Bridge. Tickets range from $30-$47. There’s not a bad seat in the house. Call 921-6800 for reservations.

A more ambitious production, “Rent,” follows “Fools” February 20 through March 10.


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