Monday, March 5, 2012

See The Gingerbread Lady at Chapel Street Players Before She Crumbles!

Although Neil Simon wrote The Gingerbread Lady in 1970, many of its themes - dysfunctional relationships, co-dependency, alcoholism, unemployment, and the fear of growing older - will resonate with today's audiences. All of these topics are fully explored during the dramedy now playing at Chapel Street Players.

Evy, a once celebrated cabaret singer, returns to her New York apartment after a lengthy stay at a rehab. While she is trying to put her life back together, her daughter (Polly) decides to move in with her, her two best friends (Toby, a vain upper crust woman, and Jimmy, a gay unemployed actor) share their hardships with her, and her former lover (Lou, who had left her for a younger woman) re-enters her life. This is a recipe for disaster, especially for someone as self-destructive as Evy.

Susan Boudreaux successfully tackles the difficult task of making the audience like Evy. Evy's self-centered, but she's also vulnerable and childlike. As much as you disagree with her decisions, you also root for her, hoping that by the end she will be on the path to sobriety and happiness and not crumble "like a gingerbread lady". Ms. Boudreaux's co-stars also gave fine performances, especially Ed Emmi as Jimmy and Pat Cullinane as Toby. Both actors brought much-needed comic relief to the play.

Although I enjoyed the performances, I was distracted by the costumes. The play is set in the 1970s, yet the costumes were a mix of apparel from the '80s and '90s. I expected to see leisure suits, bell-bottoms, and groovy clothing from The Brady Bunch era, but the costumes looked like they came from The Facts of Life and Ally McBeal eras.

Regardless, The Gingerbread Lady is a great piece of theater that should be seen before it closes on March 10. For tickets visit or call 302.368.2248. 

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