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Theater Notes: A play well worth the drive out to Woodford Avenue

By Staff | Apr 25, 2018

Sidney B. Simon

The Laboratory Theater of Florida, under the superb direction of Annette Trossbach, has another five-star production for your delight. There are only two actors, and what gifts they brought to our audience. “Visiting Mr. Green,” by Jeff Baron, is clearly a fine play. Thrilling to watch and with some issues you will have lots to talk about on the way home.

The set is a work of art. If it was your grandpa’s home, you would give up trying to straighten it up. He’s hopeless. But the gnomes in black moving between scene after scene deserve kudos. The music is another perfection to the whole production. Trossbach knows what she’s doing when she makes theater.

You may have seen “Visiting Mr. Green” somewhere else in the past, but this one starring Michael Hennessy and Brandon Summers rises to the top. And I’ve seen it three times before.

Hennessy plays Mr. Green with a New York accent louder than the F Subway coming into 2nd Street. His wife has died – no family, no friends. No one comes to visit until one day a Ross Gardiner, drolly played by Summers, shows up and declares he will be coming one day a week for six months. It is a penalty for an accident he was in, an accident with Mr. Green, where the judge ruled community service.

Things are nasty as first, but painfully they unravel into something that is relevant today as it ever was. Hurt people need healing. Social workers can help, but showing up every week and staying to know each other can make a difference for both the giver and the receiver.

You won’t be bored a moment.The dialogue is electrifying. That flat in Brooklyn comes alive. We get involved. We truly come to care for each of these two divergent nuts. I won’t tell you more. I just urge you get yourself to Fort Myers and go east on Second Street, just before it crosses Woodford Avenue.

“Visiting Mr. Green” plays until April 29, which is a final matinee. It was so good, I think it is destined for sold-out performances. Call the box office as soon as you can at 239-218-0481 or visit online at www.laboratorytheaterflorida.com.

This is my final Theater Notes for the season. I’m snowbirding north to western Massachusetts, where the theaters in Amherst, Northampton, Springfield and the Berkshires welcome this theater lover home. I hope my reviews have served you. You can tell me at compdr1@juno.com.