Sylvia – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

For companionship and unconditional love, you have to look no further than the furry four legged friend of man, the dog. A puppy can chew a large hole in your heart as well as in your favorite shoe. But not everyone is an animal lover, willing to feed and water, scoop and groom, as Greg discovers when he brings home “Sylvia” to his unsuspecting and unwelcoming wife Kate

Weekends through September 28, Berlin’s Connecticut Cabaret will be setting out doggy treats and water bowls for this adorable comedy by A. R. Gurney. Ashley Ayala is adorable, cuddly and cute, curious and contentious as Sylvia, the dog Greg, Michael Gilbride, chooses to love and wife Kate, Barbara Horan, resolves to hate. Sylvia, however, elects to ignore the tension and plants her paws firmly on the forbidden and off limits sofa. Be forewarned, Sylvia has a severely challenged potty mouth and says exactly what she feels in four letter to twelve letter statements.

Greg, enduring problems at the office, finds comfort and solace in Sylvia’s slobbering affection. Kate, with a challenging job of teaching Shakespeare to junior high school students, would prefer to relegate Sylvia to her proper place, the pound. Dave Wall interacts with all three as he plays comic roles as Tom and Leslie, a fellow dog park visitor and a therapist while Carleigh Schultz gets up close and personal with Sylvia (much to her dismay) when she visits their apartment.

How Sylvia performs the greatest trick of all, winning over Kate, is revealed in this well acted play, directed with playful and caring touches by Kris McMurray. CJ Janis provides musical interludes that add nicely to all the “doggy” songs like “Hound Dog” and “How Much Is That Doggy In The Window?”

For tickets ($35), call CT Cabaret, 31 Webster Square Road, Berlin at 860-829-1248 or online at Performances are Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m., with doors opening at 7:15p.m. Remember this is cabaret, so bring your own goodies to share at your table or plan to buy desserts on site.This is the theater’s 22nd anniversary so come and celebrate.

There’s no need to sit up and beg, for Sylvia is eager to put her head on your knee and please you to pieces.