Rivertown Repertory Theatre’s latest production of Tom Dulack’s “Breaking Legs” offers theatre patrons a good many things: an almost all-male cast of smart comedic actors, a very shapely leading lady who has all her canolas in the right places and a brilliant director-set designer to keep the show moving along. Unfortunately, it is an offer that many will want to refuse.
It’s not that the cast doesn’t try on many levels to succeed. It would seem that the comedy misses on what could be, if one will pardon the obvious pun, a hit. But the fact is this is a 22-year-old play that has seen limited success on Broadway and in regional theatres around the country. Dulack’s writing might have been the ticket back in the time that “the Dapper Don” reigned as the leading mafioso in New York, but years after “Godfather III,” “Casino,” “Good Fellas” and “The Sopranos,” the stereotypical characters seem to be a caricature of themselves.
William Dykes as wise guy Mike Francisco seems to enjoy the role almost as much as the meatballs and spaghetti he wolfs down during the first act. Indeed, much of the acting occurs between mouthfuls of Italian food on the impressive set designed by director Dane Rhodes. Dykes is joined by capos Lou Graziano (Jim Chimento) and Tino De Felice (L. Jeffrey Martorelli), who remind one of a Moe, Larry or Curly rather than a Vito, Pauley or Lucky.
Kyle Daigrepont as Terence O’Keefe, a local college professor in search of funding for his play also has his comedic moments, mostly mugging in the scenes with the three hapless mob guys. He is clearly misunderstood as a cold, heartless killer because his play deals with a brutal murder. The three mobsters who agree to finance the endeavor mistakenly surmise he must be writing about what he knows. So, he must be a killer. Daigrepont’s excels best, though, when he is stalked by Graziano’s overtly sexually aggressive and unmarried daughter Angie, played by the very alluring Diana Macera. Angie, a former student of O’Keefe’s takes little time in turning up the heat on their relationship and her complaints about needing a foot massage is all it takes to stoke those fires.
Michael Sullivan has a small, but important role at the end of the first act, and his presence continues to reverberate in the second act. There is a time when one wise guy utters an appropriate phrase about the second half of O’Keefe’s play “needing work.” It’s true with Dulack’s play too. The buildup in the first act has many moments of high hilarity, but what might have been a romp seems to sputter and lose steam in act two.
The set designed by director Dane Rhodes is a masterful depiction of an Italian restaurant, where all the action takes place. It is one of the best designs he’s ever realized and shows a remarkable brilliance and utility.
One week remains for the run of this show before it will sleep with the fishes. Tickets are available by clicking here. Dinners before shows are catered by Benedict’s Plantation and available to patrons for an additional fee.