The Roommate – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

The first time most of us encounter a roommate situation, we are freshmen at college, anxious to please, uncertain of all the new and untested options at our disposal. The occasion might be scary …what if we don’t like each other or get along? The occasion might be joyous…we are soul mates destined to be BFF’s forever.

How much more daunting is it to be fifty-somethings and opening your heart and home to a complete stranger? Will you be compatible or drive each other bonkers? Will you cook and break bread together and celebrate holidays or will you tiptoe around each other and pretend you are each alone?

Come make the acquaintance of Sharon, an eager to please Linda Powell, who lives in the conservative mid-western state of Iowa. Probably for financial reasons (we are never quite sure), she has invited Robyn, a more sophisticated and worldly Tasha Lawrence, to share her home in Jen Silverman’s play “The Roommate” at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven until Sunday, November 4.

Talk about your odd couples. These two, on the surface, have little in common, Sharon loves all kinds of food and Robyn is a vegan. Sharon is originally from Illinois while Robyn hails from the home of danger and decadence, the Bronx, New York. Each is divorced and has relationship issues with their offspring. Sharon is

straight as an arrow and Robyn is gay. As the pair tentatively get acquainted (softly hum “Getting to Know You” from “The King and I”), Sharon confesses the highlight of her week is attending a reading group/ book club, while Robyn admits to a past that includes writing slam poetry and making voodoo dolls from pottery.

Quirky revelations drop like articles of clothing off a dress store’s rack and we learn real history about these two unlikely housemates. Can the insecure but sincere Sharon find happiness with the power driven and ambitious Robyn? Hold your breath as roles are reversed to the astonishment of both. Mike Donahue directs this intriguing foray into these diverse female personalities, on a comfortable set designed by Dane Laffrey.

For tickets ($35.50-91.50), call Long Wharf Theatre, 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven at 203-787-4282 or online at www.longwharf.org. Performances are Tuesday at 7 p.m., Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Walk into Sharon’s home in the corn fed state of Iowa and experience the whirlwind effect that Robyn, the new roommate, has on both their lives.

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