Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Review: Depot Theatre’s “New York Water” is Dynamic

New York Water at the Depot Theatre, Westport
What: Written by Sam Bobrick and published by Samuel French, Inc, New York Water is a dark comedy about two mid-level professionals who meet while living in New York City.  They make a rash decision to get married and move to the Midwest for a quieter life only to search greener pastures in Los Angeles and finally return to Manhattan.

Where: The DepotTheatre, 6705 Main Street, Westport, New York 12993, 518-962-4449, 

Ticket price: $29/adult, $27/senior/student, group discounts are available.

When: Westport NY: August 7,8,9,10,14,15, at 8 pm and August 9,13,16 at 5 pm.
Matt Mundy as Alfred and Juliane Godfrey as Linda in
New York Water

Cast/Crew:
Director: Misti Wills
Alfred: Matt Mundy

Stage Manager: Sarah Overturf
Scenic Design: Bonnie Brewer
Lighting Design: Margaret Swick
Sound Design: Jim Carroll
Technical Director: Kati Long


(WESTPORT) In a world of speed dating, instant decisions and Internet matchmaking services, what happens when two people who just meet decide to get married and leave the big, bad city for greener pastures? It’s called Sam Bobrick’s “New York Water.”

While waiting for the show to open the audience had a fun moment of guessing all the TV theme songs that Sound Designer Jim Carroll picked out to set the tone. Though I missed most of them my husband was able to identify “Chips”, Sanford and Sons”, “Cosby Show” “Laverne and Shirley,” “I Dream of Jeannie” and “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.”
 Though set in present time, the costumes, music and Bonnie Brewer’s scenic design lend a retro feel to the production from the classic radio and whiskey decanter to the simple plaid skirts and cardigan sweaters.

"New York Water" at the Depot Theatre, Westport until August 16
Brewer’s clever rotating triangular backdrops are brilliant in their simplicity. An easy spin and the three panels connect like a child’s Magic Cube to switch from a NYC brownstone brick wall, a Midwestern window view or a Los Angeles boudoir.  
  
The play opens in a living room where Linda Shoup (Juliane Godfrey) enters by light-heartedly tripping over a chair to the theme song to the Dick Van Dyke show, but immediately turns dark by hiding a variety of sharp knives and other utensils under the cushions. It becomes apparent that she is preparing for a NYC blind date when shy, awkward Alfred Hives (Matt Mundy) enters the apartment. 

Sam Bobrick's "New York Water"  
When Linda offers Alfred a drink, it comes down to a cloudy glass of New York water or some musty lemonade. Linda is offering Alfred a bit more than an option to quench his thirst. That glass is their relationship; a bit murky, full of surprises and you don’t know what’s at the bottom of it. 

Director Misti Wills has brought in an amazing ensemble cast for this two-character comedy. Juliane Godfrey as Linda and Matt Mundy as Alfred come out of the starting gate as neurotic New Yorkers and are able to maintain their high-energy pace throughout the whole performance. Godfrey and Mundy have perfect comedic timing for this whirlwind courtship that feeds off of the ridiculousness of today’s need for instant gratification. 

Linda the receptionist and Alfred the CPA decide to get married and move to Iowa where they will shuck their unproductive lives and reinvent themselves. Godfrey’s Linda is manic in Iowa, joining every club and organization. Though the character of Linda is like a bulldozer, Godfrey is able to make her palatable as she fills the stage with excess energy, style and wit. Mundy’s Alfred is downtrodden, weak and ineffective, realizing he doesn’t know this woman he married. Mundy physically manipulates into this character, making himself almost invisible to the more dominant Linda. 

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Since the grass is always greener, Linda and Alfred jet off to Los Angeles where we find Linda to be a big movie producer and Alfred kowtows to her every demand and works as a gardener. Linda is abrasive showing Hollywood bigwigs she is a force to be reckoned with, while she walks all over her husband. 

The pair returns to New York, though separately. Mundy transforms Alfred into a confident realtor showing an apartment to a prospective renter. Ironically, his client is his ex-wife. 

Though it starts with a glass of water and ends with one, this quirky dark comedy is more main course. “New York Water” dishes up a full serving of relationship twists and tangles and had us laughing in the aisles.

*There is some language. It is suitable for a young teen, at the discretion of the parent.   

© Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities™ guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time™guidebooks have easy Adirondack family hikes, Adirondack swimming holes, Lake Placid Olympic activities, Adirondack trivia, Adirondack horseback rides, Adirondack snowshoe family trails and more. Look for the Adirondack family guidebook online or bookstores/museums/sporting good stores. Diane is currently working on the next Adirondack Family Activities™ guide.

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