Sylvia – Review by Marlene S. Gaylinn

Who is Sylvia?
“What is she that all the swains commend her?”
Two Gentlemen from Verona” Wm. Shakespeare

At Music Theatre of CT (MTC) the central character in this work by A.R. Gurney, is a stray dog named “Sylvia,” played here by Bethany Fitzgerald. You can tell by the audience’s laughter which individuals actually own a dog because this young actress’ interpretation of the animal’s coy mannerisms absolutely steals the show.

Sylvia’s almost human traits captured the heart of middle-aged businessman, “Greg,” a role that is tenderly and almost tearfully rendered by Dennis Holland. The unhappy man is disenchanted with his job and found the dog while walking off his frustrations in Central Park.

Greg’s wife “Kate,” a Shakespearean expert, is also facing a change in life. She is opposed to having dog pee on the rug in their upscale, NYC Apartment, and refers to Greg’s pet as “Saliva.” Now that kids are gone, the wife is relishing her new-found freedom to advance in her career. Actress Carole Dell’Aqila is appropriately assertive but her soft voice needs more projection to be fully appreciated in this role.

Jim Schilling, co-founder of MTC, plays three roles with his usual, award-winning finesse. He appears as “Tom,” a “macho” dog owner who meets Greg at the dog park and freely gives him advice, “Phyllis,” an old friend who gives Kate advice from a female point of view and “Leslie,” a professional counselor and transvestite who gives advice depending on momentary whim.

Just in time for sweethearts and dog-lovers this captivating valentine, delightfully directed by Kevin Connors, will have you wishing that love, which comes in various forms could mediate all of life’s conflicts.