Review: ‘Barefoot in the Park’

Anyone looking for an entertaining night out should see the Neil Simon comedy “Barefoot in the Park,” which opened at the Prospect Playhouse Theatre on Thursday.

The story of Corie and Paul Bratters as newlyweds trying to find their footing in their first apartment together is both hilarious and insightful, particularly for anyone who has weathered the ups and downs of a romantic relationship.

A strong local cast brings the play to life, displaying great chemistry as the members tackle a very wordy script with ease.

The lead roles of Corie and Paul are played by Laveda Thompson and Liam Oko, respectively. The two are completely believable as a young couple who though deeply in love, really haven’t prepared themselves for married life.

Veteran actor Michael McLaughlin is perfect in the part of Victor Levasco, the rather Bohemian neighbor of the Bratters who charms his way into the heart of Corie Bratters’ mother – Ethel Banks – played by another very familiar face on the local stage: Fay Anne DeFreitas. Trying to be as supportive as she can be of the couple’s rather stark new digs, the character of Ethel adds some marvelously dry moments to the conversations.

Ted Bilak as the ‘Telephone Man’ rounds out the small cast of five. He is a man just trying to do his job while being pulled into the Bratters’ vortex, whether he likes it or not.

Neil Simon is famous for his witty comedies, and “Barefoot in the Park” is no exception. Although it does touch on some serious points, overall it is a lighthearted play that clocks in at a very manageable two hours. There are two intermissions in the local production to accommodate the changing of sets, enabling patrons to have a double kick at the bar can.

The cast and crew are very happy to finally be at the production stage of the show after some intense rehearsing.

Thompson lauded the camaraderie in this community theater and the ability of the other cast members to share their knowledge. She is hoping for full houses through the play’s run.

“To anyone who likes to laugh and likes a good story, I would say, ‘Come on out!’”

Director Paul Njoka is notably proud of the final result. “This is one of the best casts I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with,” he says. “[The audience] is in for a treat.”

‘Barefoot in the Park’ runs from March 8-24 every Thurs, Fri and Sat. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children. Buy tickets online at