Barefoot in the Park
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by Kim Taylor

One of the beauties of live theatre is flexibility of interpretation. Shakespeare enthusiasts are well aware that if they’ve seen Hamlet 20 times, when they see the play for the 21st time, they will once again be seeing a new and different interpretation of that tragedy. The words that the author provides for the characters are the same, but the actors, director and theatre company are all different and each individual interpretation renders a brand new experience.

This individuality particularly stands out in Marin Classic Theatre’s production of Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park. Simon is certainly no Shakespeare so the success of his plays is even more dependent on high quality interpretation. With an excellent cast and a director with a vision, Marin Classic Theatre takes Barefoot in the Park several flights higher than other productions of this comedy.

Director Michael-Paul Thomsett speaks of the play as “a true American Classic. It’s the oldest story in the world – love. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back – and why? The simple explanation in this case would be because opposites attract. Again, why? Because in your opposite is a quality deep down you long to possess, and only through your counterpart can you feel complete.

“When you look at Corie (Heather Marie Gordon) and Paul (H.D. Southerland) as individuals, they are terribly flawed. But when they are together, they are absolute perfection. The same is true for Corie’s mother, Mrs. Banks (Linda Paplow), and the wacky neighbor, Mr. Velasco (Artie Gilbert). In both couples, you will notice that one person is spontaneous, and the other, reserved. By the end, they all discover the true meaning of balance and compromise by giving – and giving up – a little bit of themselves.”

Of course their learning journey is also a comic journey, as life often is, and it’s very entertaining. Don’t miss Marin Classic Theatre’s production of Barefoot in the Park. It elevates comedy to a higher level that will literally leave you breathless at the top of the stairs.

For tickets or more information call The Playhouse in San Anselmo at (415) 892-8551 or visit

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