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B'ville Theatre Guild's 'At First Sight' showcases two terrific actresses

Mazel tov!

Baldwinsville Theatre Guild has struck gold with actresses Robin Bridenbecker and Aileen Kenneson as two love-starved middle-aged yentas - one a widow and one a three-time divorcee - in its current comedy "At First Sight," running through June 18, at the Presbyterian Education Center.

Bridenbecker and Kenneson elicit laughs throughout with their giddy Yiddishisms and world-wise cynicisms. Their spot-on Lower East Side accents enrich their characters with a verisimilitude that really accentuates the situational humor.

Oh, yeah, the situation.

Bridenbecker's Julia, a 51-year-old widow, dresses like a schlub but has lovely, long dark hair and a personality pleasant enough to have attracted the advances of a stranger at an out-of-town business convention. After an evening of casual kibitzing over drinks, nature took its course and now Julia is pregnant, leaving her two grown children disbelieving and dismayed.

After Julia reveals her delicate condition and lack of information about her shtuper, her ostentatiously stylish sister Verna steps in to play shamus.

With her flashing eyes, mischievous smile and zaftig tush, Kenneson's Verna exudes enough chutzpah to nearly steal the show. Director Jon Barden, however, wisely stressed the sister tandem rather than let one or the other run away with it. The result is a well-balanced, swiftly paced and well-performed production full of punch lines and personality.

While Bridenbecker and Kenneson shine brightest in "At First Sight," four other actors each contribute to the silly schmooze-fest.

As Julia's nudnik son Curtis, Jordan Glaski draws guffaws with deftly timed one-liners and geeky props like a yellow stress ball, hand sanitizer and a brown paper bag. As daughter Fay, Chelsea Holtman's best moments come when she's anxiously hanging on every word of Julia's and Verna's salacious tales of the lovelorn.

The father of Julia's love-child, Philip, played by Jon Wright, comes off initially as something of a klutz but turns out to be a mensch at heart. Ruth Ann Fulton portrays Senator Zelda Feldman, a self-absorbed conservative inexplicably obsessed with house flies, and Jay Burris ably spoofs the media with his quick turn as a nosy photographer.

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