Monday, February 21, 2011

Apple Cove

Apple Cove is a satire of people who choose conformity and control to feel less frightened by the rest of the world. The show starts when newlyweds Alan and Edie move to the rule-bound Apple Cove, next door to Edie's father Gary, who considers regular gated communities insufficiently rigid and guarded. Alan and Edie's feeble attempts at independence and originality are nipped in the bud by Gary's overbearing interference until the swamp on which Apple Cove was built starts to reassert itself.

Apple Cove, written by Lynn Rosen and directed by Giovanna Sardelli, is too heavy-handed--and starts too slowly--to succeed as satire and/or farce. The main characters are too cartoony to elicit much audience sympathy or identification, and the show is too long for the story it has to tell. However, parts of Apple Cove do work, in particular the attraction between Edie (Allison Mack) and the hunky security guard (Dion Mucciacito) whose multi-ethnicity and love of the natural make him her antidote to enforced conformity. It helps that Mack and Mucciacito have genuine chemistry and are excellent performers. Kathy Searle is impressively effective as Edie's former classmate and current stepmother, despite having to play an ill-defined character.

(Reviewer comp; eighth row on the aisle.)

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