2008-11-21 / Entertainment/Lifestyles

Last Chance To See 'Prisoner Of Second Avenue'

The cast of Prisoner The cast of Prisoner The cast of the Rockaway Theatre Company's production of Neil Simon's The Prisoner of Second Avenue, takes to the stage for their final two performances this weekend. The play focuses on Mel and Edna Edison, victims of urban blight, who live in a high-rise apartment on Second Avenue and East 88 Street in Manhattan. The Edisons suffer every annoyance and indignity to which two middle-aged New Yorkers may conceivably be subjected. Noise pollution, caused by traffic, barking dogs and inconsiderate neighbors, is just one of the quality-of-life issues faced by the Edisons. The additional complications of a high unemployment rate, high prices, high crime, high rent, high medical costs and a "highly organized plot" cause Mel to be highly disturbed. Only such dark events can be considered the life of comedy in the hands of a comic craftsman like Neil Simon.

Although the situations they face are unfortunate, Mel and Edna are played with perfect comic timing and line delivery by veteran RTC actors David Risley and Lynda Browning. Add to this pair the supporting cast consisting of Joe Canizio as Mel's brother and Jodee Timpone, Cat McEntee and Eileen Farrell as his three silly, but solicitous sisters, and misfortune turns to merry mayhem.

The sisters listen as brother Harry talks with Edna The sisters listen as brother Harry talks with Edna The most telling thing about the play is that it is set in the year 1971, yet all of the trials and tribulations endured by the characters in the show are exactly the same as those which we are all facing in the present. The newscasts, which are heard over the radio during scene changes, could be ripped from the news headlines of 2008. Many audience members agreed with Susan Locke who exclaimed, "This could be taking place today," as she exited the theater after attending a performance.

The production crew headed by the very talented Anthony Homsey is to be commended for a very realistic set and wonderful visual and sound effects. The directing team of Peggy Page and Michael Wotypka has another big hit on its hands. The RTC production of The Prisoner of Second Avenue is filled with typically New York humor, which is guaranteed to tickle the funny bone and provide a terrific evening in the theater. The final two performances of Prisoner of Second Avenue are scheduled for November 21 and 22 at 8 p.m. To make reservations, call the RTC Hotline at 718-850-2450. All performances take place at the Post Theater in Fort Tilden. The Family discusses Mel's future

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