Saturday, August 20, 2022

Review of "Secondo"

Secondo - 2nd course - is the sequel to the one-woman play, I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti, which is based on the best-selling book of the same name by Giulia Melucci.  Theaterworks Hartford had a hit with their production of the latter show ten years ago.  

In the current show, actress Antoinette LaVecchia revisits the role of Giulia.  She is now married and awaiting her husband’s return from the Cannes Film Festival.  In the interlude, she is prepping an anniversary dinner.  While she cooks and fusses, she regales the audience with stories about  their courtship and also her previous beaus.  Everything seems just perfect.  Or is it?

Ms. LaVecchia is a natural raconteur.  The performer is inviting and quite at ease in her delivery and command of the stage.  Her comedic anecdotes bring continuous smiles and knowing nods from those in attendance.  Her culinary talents and comfort level in the kitchen come across as genuine.

Playwright Jacques Lamarre has fashioned a modest, sugary confection with humor and just enough drama to keep the show percolating.  Divided into two, short Acts, the production could have easily been combined without an intermission.  The breezy pace is frequently interrupted by calls on the character’s cell phone from her mom, best friend, husband and a former boyfriend.  After a while, they do prove somewhat distracting.  I would have liked to have seen less reliance on the phone and more conversation and cooking from Giulia.

Director Rob Ruggiero oversees the play with a light touch.  He must know his way around a kitchen because the character’s movements and meal preparatory skills come across as natural and well-honed.  

Scenic Designer Brian Prather has created, along with Lighting Designer Carter Miller, a well-appointed city apartment kitchen that would be the envy of any urban dweller.

Secondo, an airy, cheerful frolic.  What might the next installment hold for Giulia?  Playing at Theaterworks Hartford through August 28.  Click here for times, dates and ticket information.

No comments: