ADVERTISING AT CURTAINUP
Short Term Listings
BOOKS and CDs
LETTERS TO EDITOR
A CurtainUp Review
Most plainly, Flamingo Court is about growing older, about how difficult decisions often make themselves, and about how real happiness and sadness mysteriously tap into the same emotional root. But, mostly, it is about about family, friends, new interests, and sometimes letting go of loved ones.
The first play has episodes that run the gamut from silly soap opera addictions to a character being able to quote William Shakespeare in an emotional pinch. It is by far the most clever of the three plays with witty, airtight dialogue. Dominic (Farr) is a kind of old-world romantic, who will stop at nothing to marry his married neighbor Angelina (Gillette). Both appear to be in their 60s, and are undeniably attracted to one another. The turning point of the story is when Farr's Dominic pours a vial of poison into the soup of Angelina's supposed invalid husband. But what may sound like a Hitchcock murder mystery is actually a tragedy turned inside-out with two seniors getting a second-chance in life.
In the second play, Gillette and Farr play characters in their 80s. Gillette's Clara displays the early signs of Alzheimer's disease. Frank, the husband has reached the painful decision of putting his wife into a home where her daily functional needs would be better met and her general safety ensured. When both Clara and Frank's memories fail and they fumble through the classic song "Give My Regards to Broadway" might just move you to cry. Their story, which seems to issue from a real-life source, hits you where you live.
The third play is long and comes complete with its own ghost. It's haunting has a kind of trick (pun intended) in the plot, and a greedy daughter named Charity Pipick (Lucy Martin) and her lawyer husband, Walter Pipick (Joe Vincent). Their raison d'etre is none other than to secure the will of 87 year-old Harry Rossoff, Charity's widowed father. The piece morphs from spiciness to the supernatural, with two of its characters being a hooker and a ghost. Gillette does a good job as the come-hither prostitute Chi Chi, and Farr gets laughs galore as both Harry Rossoff and his ghost. The sea-change in this final vignette comes in the final scenes, with Harry Rossoff's ghost strategically perched on a barstool. In the last ten minutes of the piece, Charity and Walter Pipick get their comeuppance when Harry's ghost gets all his supernatural fumes together and deploys them to his advantage. Without giving away any more of the plot, the daughter ultimately discovers that true love is stronger than legalities, and that greed gets its just desserts.
Steven Yuhasz has directed with a disarming charm and Herrick Goldman's lighting bathes the stage with a kaleidoscopic array of pastels. Carol Sherry's costumes range from the casually breezy, to the very frumpy, to the extremely frivolous. A hat becomes more than a hat in this show, and a pair of gold lame pants neatly double as a signpost to perdition and as a last hurrah for a jaded old man.
Lastly, music is richly suffused throughout the program, most notable during the scene changes and adds an air of nostalgia. Creatore, himself a senior citizen, notes in his program credits that he and partners Hugo Peretti and George David Weiss have written more than a few classic hits —including "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and Elvis Presley's trademark song, "Can't Help Falling In Love." The team also has credits on Broadway with the 1968 Maggie Flynn. Not surprisingly, there's even a new catchy song tucked in as a kind of epilogue, aptly called "Old is In."
If old is in, then so is Flamingo Court. The program is fun, funny but also sad. While some scenes tear a passion to tatters, other moments will make you shed a heart-felt tear. It's a good prescription for any senior who wants to re-assess what growing older means in the new millennium.
Try onlineseats.com for great seats to
The Little Mermaid
Shrek The Musical
In the Heights
Playbill 2007-08 Yearbook
Leonard Maltin's 2008 Movie Guide