Theater and Concert Reviews.
by ROBERT MASSIMI 2 years ago in REVIEW"Yo Francis"Robert Massimi.
When I saw this Tony Award winner in the early 80's, times were different then today, however, Gemini (short for Geminiani, the father and son that are at the forefront of this performance), is timeless. Set in South Philadelphia, it is about Frank and Francis, who is on summer break from Harvard University. There neighbors, the Weinberger's, Bunny and Herschel are a cooky duo. Herschel has an over the top IQ but is a functioning moron. Bunny, who was once a looker is older, heavier and likes the sauce a little too much. Of Irish decent, Bunny complains about how she married a selfish Jew who cared less about her or Herschel. Reminiscent of All In The Family, the stereotypes fly about people's nationalities and religions. When the Hastings come to visit Francis, their White Anglo-Saxon background does not escape the comedy either. Fran's girlfriend Lucille Pompi ties the entire play together.
The play takes place on the eve of Francis twenty first birthday. He is miserable because he is not sure of himself or where he stands on things especially his feelings. Judith Hastings, his girlfriend is beautiful, but it is not her that he mostly craves, it's her brother. Francis tries to hide it by letting Randi play trains with Herschel, actually encouraging it because he does not want this to be revealed. Between the three, the tension and the comedy is raucous. The comedy is juxtaposed with Bunny, Frank and Lucille providing there fair share as well.
Everyone has problems in Gemini. The father is upset that his wife left, so he planted a fig tree to mark the occasion upon her leaving. He is not bitter about being left alone by her and Francis going off to school, nor is he bitter about his friends leaving him during his difficult times. He seems happy-go-lucky as does his neighbor, Bunny. She has been dealt dirty by her husband. She has an asthmatic, idiot for a child with an off the charts IQ. Bunny complains little but she knows that she has seen better days.
If you look deeper into this comedy there is a lot of symmetry here. Frank and Bunny are really desperate deep down. Both were unlucky in love, there children have issues and one uses food to ease the pain, another uses alcohol.
Francis likes Judith but likes her brother more. All three, even though they attend Harvard are clueless in life matters. They all can recite Dante but no little about what the world is all about.
Lucille knows she could never replace Frank's wife so she is the authoritative figure, the on ed who is always dictating the right way to do things.
Well written comedy is the most serious thing there is said Charlie Chaplin and beneath it all, Gemini has these serious issues with some serious laughs to go with it.
On a small stage, director Daniel Roberts does a good job in turning these performers loose. Although at times the play lacks energy, it is mostly a winner of a comedy. Chris Hynd's costume design is also well done. Bunny's get ups are hilarious. Herschel's suit and everyday cloths are also well done. Shelby Loera has the performers front in center with the glam lighting.
Olivia Jampol and IIana Kresch were standouts in this performance. Both women had wonderful comedic timing and were fantastic in executing there roles. As Lucille and Bunny, they carried the performance in that they were the glue that kept Gemini together. Without there two performances the show would not have been the great evening that it was.
REVIEWGemini, Tony Award,Theater Row.
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