photo: Heather Butcher
Click here for more information on this production that runs through March 13th.
"Neil Simon's coming of age comedy Brighton Beach Memoirs is a humorous look at the dynamics of family relationships, but it is also full of heart and touches upon the complexities of life. The play takes us back to a more gentle and innocent time with well-drawn characters and a tightly constructed plot that includes plenty of laughs and touching moments. Desert Stages in Scottsdale presents a winning, well-honed production that is both entertaining and rewarding, with a talented cast who are giving sincere performances....Director Rick Davis balances the humor and heart in the play, never letting the comical moments get too sappy and ensuring the dramatic moments land appropriately. He also has found a small talented cast who all create finely shaded portrayals. As Eugene, George Piccininni-Avery is full of charm. He has a winning delivery in his narration as he reports on the trials and tribulations of his family. Piccininni-Avery is engaging and enduring in the part and does quite well with many of Eugene's comical lines. He doesn't quite land every joke, but I have faith that, given a few more performances to get the timing right, he will. ...Heidi Carpenter and Wade Moran portray Eugene's parents Kate and Jack. Carpenter is exceptional as the strong woman who tries to hold the family together. ...Moran also does well in showing us that Jack is concerned about his family and worries about them, yet also is attentive to their needs...While the Jerome family may not be as complex as those families in recent prize winning dramas such as August: Osage County and Next to Normal, Brighton Beach Memoirs is still a rich story of one family working through the challenges that life brings them. Simon's story may have characters that wear their hearts on their sleeves, but it is a timeless story that shows that love and laughter and the power of love and family will always win the day. DST's production has a fine cast and clear direction, resulting in a charming, funny, and touching theatrical treat." -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)