The plot of THE CEMETERY CLUB involves the meddling in the blooming love affair of one of a trio of close Jewish friends who meet monthly to visit the graves of their recently buried husbands. The bonds of friendship is the key to success of the play. Forge Theatre is, indeed, fortunate in the casting of three wonderful actresses.
Pam Taylor gives Ida a light bright touch. She is entirely winsome in the role. Bev Smith has mastered the New York accent and gives a terrific performance as Lucille, the redheaded bombshell who is trying to live high. Balancing these two is Cindy Schneider as Doris—the devoted widow who needs only to live in the past with memories of her husband. Schneider has found the deadpan delivery that is perfect for the role. The three of them are totally believable—and really, really funny.
Jim Reese as Sam is the widower who is interested in Ida. He is at his best in the second act scene of reconciliation. As Mildred, Nance Brown not only gives a hilarious curtain speech, but makes the most of a small role. Her stage business is inspired.
The audience on opening night thoroughly enjoyed the performance. The place echoed with lots of laughs. Kudos to director Linda Mandlowitz. She moved the play along at proper tempo, and conjured up the right balance between pathos and comedy. The cast waited out the laughs for the most part with aplomb.
The set design by Denise Nissle and the lighting design by Lew Osterhoudt were right on.
If you want a diversion from the cold of this winter and desire to laugh your head off, head on down to Forge Theatre this January.
THE CEMETERY CLUB
by Ivan Menchell
Directed by Linda Mandlowitz
January 9–25 2015
241 First Ave
Phoenixville PA 19460