Love, laughter and honesty give life to 'Have I Got a Girl for You' By Larry Alexander, Staff Writer email@example.com
It's said that love often comes to people when they least expect it, but it can also come to one who has given up hope of ever finding it.
That's certainly the case with Maureen Mulligan in the Rainbow Dinner Theatre's wonderful romantic comedy, "Have I Got a Girl for You."
Mulligan (Dianne Fussaro), a former middle school teacher turned dental assistant, living in New York City, possesses an attitude about herself that is as dingy as her Forest Hills apartment. Overweight and unkempt, she is cynical, and wields a rapierlike tongue as her defense against the world.
Mulligan has not had a date in longer than she cares to remember, and consoles herself by surrendering to the seductive lure of sitting home, eating ice cream straight from the half-gallon box, gobbling down large pizzas and ordering Chinese takeout for two, when she is dining alone.
Her main source of companionship seems to be her sister and brother-in-law, Shelia and Squire Whiting (played by husband-and-wife team Rachel and Daniel Stargel). Both are egotistical and self-absorbed.
Sheila is heavy into lookism, and is doing everything within her power, or rather, within the power of her plastic surgeon, to fight off aging. But she has made it her mission to try to get her older sister a man.
With the aid of her equally pretentious husband, Squire, who styles himself as "Bond. James Bond," they rig up a blind date for Maureen.
The victim is Joe Spinelli (Scott Russell), the lovable but drab co-owner and bookkeeper of the Victory Restaurant in Brooklyn.
Maureen has agreed to this with extreme reluctance, and the date gets off to a bad start when Joe is two hours late due to traffic and heavy rain.
Their meeting is awkward as Joe, who shares Maureen's lack of self-confidence, stumbles around trying to find the right things to say, while Maureen expertly fends off Joe's compliments, generally with snide, self-deprecating remarks.
On occasion, the two strike a common chord and actually seem to be communicating. But moments later, Maureen derails the progress. Left at the altar once in her life, she seems unable to fathom the idea that Joe, or any other man, could ever find her attractive. As a result, she shows Joe the door.
Luckily for Maureen, and for us, Joe is not easily dissuaded.
With only four people in the cast, this show has no room for any performances that are less than excellent, and indeed, excellence is what the audience gets.
The Stargels, in their Rainbow debut, carry their roles well as the pretentious Whitings.
The veteran Russell is fabulous as Joe, a poor, somewhat pitiable schnook with low self-esteem, while Fussaro, in her second Rainbow show, is just as superb as the sharp-witted and bitterly lonely Maureen. Together, the two create a delightfully funny, yet touchingly real, tableau of love and laughter.
The show is co-directed by Cynthia and David DiSavino, demanding professionals who are adept at wringing fine performances from their cast and laughs from their audience.
"Have I Got a Girl for You" is a divinely funny comedy that is sure to please.
The production runs through March 13 at the Rainbow Dinner Theatre, 3065 Lincoln Highway East, Paradise. For tickets and showtimes, call 800-292-4301 or visit rainbowdinnertheatre.com.