“OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS” COMES TO BERLIN


Bonnie Goldberg

“Aida” is a famous opera by Verdi set in Egypt, but to one dedicated young man named Nicholas it is the name of his beloved grandmother.   The only other resemblance is that his Aida likes to keep the house where she has lived for decades with her husband Frank as hot as a day in August in Ethiopia, which is not that far from Egypt.

To meet Nicholas and his two sets of grandparents, Aida and Frank and Emma and Nunzio, just go “Over the River and Through the Woods” to Hoboken, New Jersey, with playwright Joe DiPietro as your friendly tour guide.  The Connecticut Cabaret Theatre, 31-33 Webster Square Road, Berlin will perform this bittersweet comedy Fridays and Saturdays evenings through January 16, 2010.

Matthew Collin Marrero is wonderfully touching as the devoted grandson Nick who travels every Sunday by bus from the city to have dinner with his grandparents, Aida (Carolyn Kirsch) and Frank (Paul Braccioforte) and Emma (Marsha Howard Karp) and Nunzio (George Lombardo).  Even though his parents and his sister have moved far away, Nick values the three F’s he has learned from his elders: family, faith and food.

Their lives are beautifully intertwined until the moment he informs them that his job as a marketing executive, whatever that is, will have him moving to Seattle, Washington, another planet to the elder generation.  Maybe they tolerated that Nick ate Chinese food occasionally and even visited a head doctor for therapy, but accepting this promotion which includes a moving van is too much.

The four plot to make Nick reconsider his grand plan in the form of one sweet and eligible Irish lass Caitlin (Meagan Bomar) and if that doesn’t work Emma will buy another mass card and call in the really big guns.  Artistic director Kris McMurray directs an ensemble community cast that works well together to create a loving and loyal family unit.

 For tickets ($30), call 860-829-1248 or online at www.ctcabaret.com.  Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. through January 16, except for December 25 and 26 and January 1 and 2.  Bring a picnic to enjoy or buy refreshments from the canteen.

Watch what happens when Nick’s dream job creates a nightmare for his grandparents in this delightful comedy where love = food.  Mangia!

 

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