l-r Jack (DannyWolohan) gets love advice from Lucy(Amanda Durante) and Clyde (Gabriel Marin) in Jack Goes Boating.

JACK GOES BOATING by Bob Glaudini, directed by Joy Carlin. Aurora Theatre 2081 Addison Street Berkeley, CA 94704. 510-843-4822 or www.auroratheatre.org. June 12 through July 19.


The Aurora Theatre Company has bonded four stellar actors with set designer Melpomene Katakalos, light designer Jim Cave, costume designer Cathleen Edwards, composer/sound designer Chris Houston and director Joy Carlin to come up with a solid winner for the end of their 17th season. They have taken a 25 scene, 10 locale, absolutely screwball romantic comedy turning it into a must see production. If this is foreshadowing of the quality of their next season, be advised to book your season tickets early to reserve the best seats.

The play was conceived and produced in 2007 in New York by the LAByrinth Theater Company with Academy Award Winner Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Jack, the protagonist. Seymour is currently directing and starring in a filmed version planned to open in 2011. At the Aurora, the amazing Danny Wolohan gives a Tony Award performance as Jack. Seymour could not do better. Wolohan has the support of superb actors Gabriel Marin (Clyde), Beth Wimurt (Connie) and Amanda Durate (Lucy). Their ensemble scenes run like a fine tuned clock with many thanks to the production crew. Melpomene’s two story set, assisted by brilliant lighting changes into two separate apartments, a subway, a swimming pool, a mortuary and in the end into Central Park Lake.

It all starts with Clyde and Lucy arranging a blind date for Jack with her co-worker Connie. The girls work in a mortuary that also sells Grief Consoling Seminars. Jack’s quirky nature seems to doom him to be a permanent bachelor. He still lives in a basement room in the home of his uncle who has a limousine service where Clyde and Jack work. They are also taking courses to better themselves. Connie has her own personality traits that need repair and Clyde and Lucy think they would be good for each other.

It is winter when Connie and Jack are tentatively attracted to each other and she mentions she would like to go boating in the summer. Jack cannot swim so Clyde takes him to the swimming pool to teach him. Later, after a stranger has traumatized Lucy in the subway assault, she casually mentions that no one has ever cooked a meal for her. Poor Jack offers to do so but he cannot cook. Clyde comes to the rescue arranging lessons with Frederick, an assistant chef nicknamed “Cannoli” who plays an important unseen part in the story.

As the relationship of Jack and Connie buds, the bond between Clyde and Lucy after five years of marriage, becomes precarious. Each couple has set backs and illegal drugs do play a part in the complications and their unraveling. You must go to a performance to see the twists and turns of the plot unfold. What I will re-emphasize is the perfect comic timing with nuanced gestures and facial expressions by the individual actors. In the intimate surroundings of the Aurora you will not miss a note. This is an absolute must see play.

Kedar K. Adour, MD

Courtesy of www.theatreworldinternetmagazine.com