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Theater review: A sparkling ‘Sunshine Boys’

B’ville Theatre Guild stages Neil Simon’s crotchety comedy

In a rehearsal for the Vaudeville sketch "The Doctor Will See you now," Nurse McIntosh (Kate Hoy) tries to help Willie Clark as Dr. Klockenmeyer (John LaCasse). "Mr Melnyk" is at the right.

In a rehearsal for the Vaudeville sketch "The Doctor Will See you now," Nurse McIntosh (Kate Hoy) tries to help Willie Clark as Dr. Klockenmeyer (John LaCasse). "Mr Melnyk" is at the right.

— BTG workhorse Patrick Bridenbaker, who has worked behind the scenes for 15 years, makes his directorial debut with “The Sunshine Boys.” His direction kept the play moving along and also took care to quiet down the arguing actors at key moments, as when Willie dramatically lowers his vocal tones when talking to Al’s daughter on the phone.

Bridenbaker could have added a tad more spark to the blocking. The early scene of Ben chasing Willie around the apartment is crisp as a graham cracker, but the scene in which Al and Willie each “fix” the doctor sketch set nearly falls flat. It could’ve been a choreographic gem, but instead it draws chortles rather than chuckles.

Overall, however, this rookie director has delivered a production sure to please. His helpers – producer Robin Bridenbaker, assistant director Jay Burris and stage manager Karen Peterson – all pulled together behind their capable cast to make “The Sunshine Boys” one of the brightest of BTG’s recent efforts.

“The Sunshine Boys” continues at the First Presbyterian Education Center, 64 Oswego St., at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, and. Saturday, Nov. 3; at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4; and at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 10 and 11. Tickets cost $15, $13 for students and $13 for seniors at the Nov. 4 matinee only; 877-8465. BTG is now in its 70th year, having first tread the boards in 1942; baldwinsvilletheatreguild.org.

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