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Review of WSP’s Over the River and Through the Woods

by Ceci LeBeau
November 8, 2018

Upper Town Hall

Nov. 9, 10, 16, 17 and 18

Author, Joe DiPietro

Director: Karen Dinehart

Oh, family - those wonderful ties that bind - and gag. At age 27, Nick, played with charisma and charm by Michael LaChance, has spent every Sunday of his life eating dinner with both sets of Italian grandparents. When he breaks through their non-stop patter to make the announcement that he’s getting a promotion, they are thrilled. When he tells them the new job is in Seattle, 3,000 miles from them in Hoboken, New Jersey, pandemonium breaks out.

Thus begins the merry chase. Aida is a warm and maternal grandma who never got to finish high school but is a genius with tomatoes and pasta. Played lovingly by Terry Murphy, she solves every problem with “you look hungry!” Her husband Frank, played with gravitas by Charlie Haskins, was forced to leave the old country at age fourteen and has the grit of every hard working immigrant. Their accents are quite believable. Family, faith and food are their persuasions.

Nick’s other, more Americanized grandparents have a wackier approach. Emma, played with panache by Laura Steele, has a canasta friend who happens to be Nick’s age and is very cute. Emma invokes her Mass cards to bring pretty Caitlin (Chrissy Peterson, a music teacher here in Holliston) to the next Sunday dinner. Nunzio, admirably played by Larry Lickteig, wears an Instamatic camera around his neck for the first half of the play.

This touching show has the heart warming humor of classic comedies like those of Carol Burnett or Neil Simon. Some interesting tweaks on Italian/Irish/Jewish constructs are explored. As the calendar turns us towards Thanksgiving, come over the river and through the woods.

Tickets for the show are $18 for adults and $15 for seniors and students in advance or $20 and $17 at the door. Visit their website at wsp.com for more details.

 

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