WHTC's Two-Man Show Is 'Outrageous & Funny'
By: JOANNE BRIANA-GARTNER, April 7, 2014
Those of us emerging from winter hibernation will find the cozy atmosphere of Woods Hole Theater Company’s latest offering, presented in the format of dessert theater, a welcome relief from the raw drabness of this year’s endless winter.
Under the direction of Don Dutton, WHTC has taken the intimate space upstairs at the old fire station in Woods Hole to use as the venue for the two-man show “The Outrageous Adventures of Sheldon and Mrs. Levine, A Son’s Elusive Search for his Mother’s Happiness.”
Audience members gather at tables and are served coffee or tea prior to the start of the show with desserts and beverages made available during intermission as well.
The set for the show is minimal. A simple table, chairs, and a writing desk suffice as the backdrop from which Joan Edstrom, who plays Mrs. Levine, and T.J. MacVeigh, who plays Sheldon, spin their tale.
The story is told almost exclusively through an exchange of letters written back and forth between the meddling, opinionated widow Levine and her long-suffering son, Sheldon. The hostility between the two is immediately evident when we learn in the first letters that Mrs. Levine was recently the catalyst for the breakup of her son’s marriage, having offered her daughter-in-law a large sum of money to leave her husband. Sheldon responds by moving and refusing to give his mother his new address. Mrs. Levine responds by addressing future correspondences to the Bureau of Missing Persons. Sheldon responds by telling his mother that because of her letter the police broke down his door and beat him up. Mrs. Levine responds by complaining about Sheldon on various talk shows. And so it goes.
Ms. Edstrom is quite believable as the pragmatic and overbearing mother; and with his deadpan delivery and obvious inferiority complex, Mr. MacVeigh is equally believable as the henpecked, but still loyal, son.
The exchanges are fast-paced and witty. The story is outrageous and funny and has Mrs. Levine running off with her Indian guru to find enlightenment, becoming a celebrity talk show host, and losing her cross-dressing boyfriend to one of the women in her bridge club. Sheldon meanwhile criss-crosses the country searching for meaning in his own life, discovering family secrets and being taken advantage of by lawyers and evangelical preachers along the way.
The outcome is satisfactory even if the story is far fetched. And for anyone who has ever questioned if they themselves might be a hovering parent or if their own childhood was marred by a meddling mom or dad it’s a guarantee that you’ll walk away from the evening knowing that it could have been worse.
“The Outrageous Adventures of Sheldon and Mrs. Levine, A Son’s Elusive Search for his Mother’s Happiness” continues in Woods Hole Friday, April 11, at 7:30 PM and Saturday, April 12, at 2 PM.
Tickets are $20 per person, available at the door or by calling 508-540-6525.