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Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012

Off the Wall's 'Sisters Rosensweig' Filled to the Brim

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The Sisters Rosensweig, much like its titular siblings, holds varying traits and attitudes, at times at odds with one another. Off the Wall Theatre's current production of the Wendy Wasserstein Broadway hit tries its best, and at times succeeds, despite the playwright's attempts to mix comedy, pathos, art, politics, identity and, well, everything but the proverbial kitchen sink.

Director Jeremy C. Welter makes the most of a narrow, elongated strip of a stage. The story, set in 1991 London, follows the three siblings as they gather for eldest Sara's birthday.

The eight-member cast pulls to the edges of the characters, instead of giving nuanced, in-depth portrayals. But it still works, especially when Wasserstein “writes funny.”

Sister Gorgeous gets the most laughs as the brash, sassy New Jersey housewife, played to hilarious comic effect by Liz Norton. As Sara's daughter Tess, Liz Mistele fits perfectly as the tough but tender child. Donna Lobacz brings a quiet strength to Sara. Steve Pfisterer's Mervyn, Sara's love interest, has a quiet but firm gentleness.

The Sisters Rosensweig
runs through Feb. 12 at Off the Wall Theatre, 127 E. Wells St. For more information, call 414-327-3552 or visit www.offthewalltheatre.com.