Reviewed by Allison Thomas
I give this production 4 stars. The first star of Rose’s Dilemma was the set design. Mary-Jane Minear has created an absolutely beautiful setting for this dramatic comedy. Another star is Brian Godfrey, who directs this unusual Neil Simon play, ably bringing the whole creation team together to flow seamlessly.
I wasn’t expecting the “other worldly’ theme, which, for me, was reminiscent of the movie “Ghost”, but with lots of twists and turns, comedic and dramatic.
Opening Night started off a bit slow, with little humour and lots of dialogue, however when Simon Lancione came on stage the whole play came alive and intriguing with his attitude and ingenious banter (the third star). Shining as Gavin Clancy, the sardonic “paperback writer”, Simon’s character’s droll, witty sarcasm added more tension to the already strung-out author Rose, cleverly played by Lyn Wilson. Rose grappled with her strange relationships with the veteran Andrew Horwood, as her dead (or fantasy) lover, Walsh; Laura Antoniazzi, as the devoted Arlene, and her financial situation.
In Act 2 the plot got really interesting, with more humour and convolutions, culminating in the seemingly surprise ending (at least to Rose!).
I thoroughly enjoyed the play, which was marred only by a few fumbled lines, which I’m sure will improve as the season goes on.
Lighting and Sound by Leigh Wheatley and Phil Moyle was well done and the audience sang along with the well chosen “scene change” songs, eg “Paperback Writer”. Kudos to Jill Wheatley and her team's co-ordination of many excellent costumes, It made me want to research Lillian Hellman and Dashell Hammett who inspired Neil Simon to write the play.
The fourth star of course was Lyn, who was on-stage for nearly the whole production!
Well worth braving the cold to go to St Jude’s Players in Brighton before 12 August.
A scene form Rose's Dilemma picture by Les Zetlein