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Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011

Laughs Fill the Empty Nest at Waukesha Civic Theatre

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The Waukesha Civic Theatre’s engaging offering Alone Together hits just the right warmhearted tone for a chilly winter evening. It’s as smoothly palatable as the champagne frequently imbibed onstage. The story deals with a couple who can’t seem to keep the empty nest empty enough to suit them as they approach their middle years.

Their three grown sons keep moving in with annoying regularity. Michael, winningly played by Sean Duncan, leaves his university scholarship position to perform disruptive scientific experiments in his old room. He is followed by Elliott, whose philandering ways are breaking up his marriage. He seems interested only in seducing Janie, who is inexplicably occupying the room of the youngest son, Keith.


While this may seem like typical community theater situational comedy froth, Lawrence Roman’s sparkling dialogue keeps the story line afloat to the audience’s delight, never allowing the subject matter to hit what often passes for last-minute hints of  “reflective profundity.” The cast rarely falters in their efforts to keep things moving along. Special credit goes to Donna Daniels as Helene, the mother, whose looks of banked frustration are appropriately telling. Dan Hargarten as her husband, George, and Duncan as Michael the nerdy oldest son find a sophisticated balance between comedy and conflict in a well-executed finale that steers clear of bathos. The young Harry Brammer as Keith, Eric Eggers as the horny Elliott and Jenny Kosek as the sexy “roommate” round out the cast.
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