Theater review: Good food, great acting make for a top-notch dinner theater

>I was eating a marvelous dinner with a group of new friends, waiting to see a play called “Old Love

‘Old Love’

WHERE: Lake George Dinner Theatre, Holiday Inn Resort, Route 9, Lake George

WHEN: Through Oct. 10

HOW MUCH: $58-$49

MORE INFO: 668-5762, ext. 411. or www.lakegeorgedinnertheatre.com

I was eating a marvelous dinner with a group of new friends, waiting to see a play called “Old Love,” and I thought, “What a treasure is the Lake George Dinner Theatre.”

The experience is always a delight. This year, it is better than ever. More about the food later. The show that’s being presented is top-notch fun and the production, directed by the gifted Terry Rabine, is as good as it gets.

“Old Love” is written by Canadian playwright, Norm Foster, who is referred to as the “Canadian Neil Simon.” Well, guess what: He’s better than Simon. The text has a humanity about it that surpasses the ordinary.

It is, first and foremost, hilarious. It is also touching and meaningful.

The title refers to the fact that mature adults can and do fall in love and all that that implies. It follows the fortunes of Bud (Neil Akins), a middle-aged “road warrior” who happens to have won $12 million in the lottery and who has been fascinated by his boss’s wife for 25 years. He has met her exactly three times, he explains to the audience, and has not been able to get her out of his mind.

Who is this dazzling creature, one wonders. And then we meet her.

Molly (Marina Re) is a straight-talking, shoot-from-the-hip kind of gal. Lovely to look at, to be sure, but no object of a man’s idealized dream. So, what’s the attraction? Who can say? And that is truly the crux of the story.

When they meet years later at her husband’s funeral (she is placing a single rose on the man’s grave), Bud tries to hit on her. Re’s reaction is both comedic and subtly — very subtly — interested. The couple provides the audience with comic acting at its finest.

Rounding out the four-person cast are Brenny Rabine and Kent Burnham, playing multiple roles. Rabine displays spectacular versatility as she appears first as several of Bud’s dates after he and his wife have divorced, and then as Bud’s cheating and ambitious wife, a limping, chain-smoking secretary, and Molly’s malicious daughter-in-law. Burnham gives a solid performance as Bud’s philandering boss and that man’s bedeviled son.

But it is the knock-out performance of the two leads that provides the substance of the show. As Bud, Akins is hauntingly ordinary and achingly, relentlessly in love. Re gives Molly a flinty resilience coupled with tenderness for Bud’s efforts to win her resistant heart.

As promised, I must tell you that the food served at the Lake George Holiday Inn Resort is every bit as excellent as the show. At my table, tenderloin of beef with Bearnaise sauce, pork tenderloin and broiled salmon were all given rave reviews. A vegetarian pasta is also available but not sampled by my tablemates.

Categories: Entertainment, Food

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