Bucks County Herald

Bucks actress shines in Hatboro production of Neil Simon play

JEAN BRENNER

One of Bucks County’s finest actresses, Alana Caraccio, is sharing her talents on the stage of a nearby Montgomery County playhouse, just across County Line Road in Hatboro.

Caraccio is performing in the Neil Simon play, “Lost In Yonkers” with the Village Players in Hatboro. The play continues weekends through March.

Caraccio convincingly portrays a stoic, unpleasant woman whose early years were spent in World War II Germany before coming to America. She has raised her four children with a steely hand, teaching them to be self-sufficient, seldom showing love or support.

As they have aged, she has little sympathy for their problems, and when she agrees reluctantly to allow her two grandsons to live with her for nearly a year in the early 1940s in Yonkers, N.Y., while her son –their father – looks for work in other states, the boys who fear her at first come to hate their only grandmother.

As a result of lack of love, her four children have developed unusual – strange – characteristics.

Eddie, the boys’ father, played well by Steve Niles, is despondent about his wife’s death and to his mother’s disappointment often cries. He has lost his job and must travel to find work, thus leaving the boys with his stern, miserable mother. He writes often to his sons.

Kevin Christian is the next child, Louie, big, brash, boisterous and frightening, a criminal hiding out for a night in his mother’s apartment. He carries a holstered gun and a bag of money.

Gert is the first daughter. Played capably by Colleen Mackle, Gert has been so traumatized over the years that she has learned to finish sentences as she inhales, gasping for breath, which is funny to see and hear, but sad.

Alexis Leigh Ross does a fine job playing Bella, the fourth child, who has never quite grown up, but wants so badly to be normal, marry, and have children. She is kind to her nephews, even as she is terrorized by her mother. Adding humor to the play; Bella and the boys carry most of the show.

The two grandsons, Arty and Jay, represent Neil Simon and his brother when they stayed at many relatives’ homes. Matthew Ballow, a senior at William Tennent High School, portrays Jay, the 16-year -old, and Wade Craney plays 12-year-old Arty. They perform well, and perhaps they have learned to project better since opening weekend when I, from the second row, had great difficulty hearing what they were saying.

Director Keith Maliszewski, assisted by Brianna Lynn, has chosen very good actors, giving them interesting and extreme characteristics. Richard Lutz and Dawn Marshall are producing the play.

Hatboro Players, in its 71st year, is a cozy, comfortable space with 152 upholstered seats. There is a typical proscenium stage and decent lighting.

The long, industrial looking building converted into a theater is tucked away at the end of Jefferson street next to a ballfield. There is a parking lot, next to the building and there is parking on Jefferson Street, off County Line Road.

Ticket prices are very reasonable and most of the plays I have seen there are quite good.

“Lost in Yonkers” continues weekends through March 24. The next production is “Unnecessary Farce.” Visit thevillageplayers.com.

Jeanbrenner3@gmail.com

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