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Review of "Chapter Two" by Neil Simon at Brown County

The final show of the season at the Brown County Playhouse is Neil Simon's comedy, "Chapter Two.

"Chapter Two" is the story of a love affair between a widowed novelist, George Schneider, played by Robert Johansen and a divorced actress, Jennie Malone, played by Alissa Stamatis. Johansen's character has been devastated by the death of his beloved wife. Stamatis's has been rendered equally shy of relationships by a dead end marriage. The first act is all about falling in love. Neil Simon is a master of witty dialog and here the two main characters are allowed to actually fall in love through and with their wit. Johansen and Stamatis's timing and delivery are sharp, well sculpted and funny.

The second act is a pretty deep exploration of just how complicated the characters' love can be. Johansen's George is deeply in love, but he feels terribly guilty about taking up with a new woman. It's almost as if he thinks he deserting his first wife. Things get pretty nasty for a while, but Stamatis's Jennie manages to weather out the storm and the ending is a happy one.

In addition to Johansen and Stamatis, "Chapter Two" is well served with the comic energy of Bruce Burgun as George's too supportive brother and the touching and strong character work of Martha Jacobs as a friend of Jennies.

The handsome set is by Jared Porter and the right out of the late seventies costumes are by Mary Grusak.

The production directed by Bill Kincaid, is a very good show with a very skilled cast. It's funny and touching, and then funny again.

You can see this and other theatre, film and opera reviews on our web site at WFIU dot Indiana dot edu.

Neil Simon's "Chapter Two" plays weekends at the Brown County Playhouse through October 20th.

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