Over the River and Through the Woods
As the old song goes, the Arvada Center's production of Over the River and Through the Woods is about visiting grandmother's house—in this case, it is Nick, a late twenty something yuppie, who goes every Sunday to have dinner with both his paternal and maternal grandparents. All this would be unremarkable except for the fact that Nick's family is the prototypical Italian family and playwright Joe DiPietro (I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change) has mined every possible endearing obsession involving food and traditional values to paint an hilarious and poignant portrait of the old country meeting the 21st Century.
Eric Dente (formerly Eric Lawrence), in his best performance to date, imbues Nick with an endearing blend of exasperation (with his grandparents mindset) and ambition (to succeed where his forbearers could not). All these emotions come to a head when he is offered a major promotion in a distant city and his grandparents pull out all stops to convince him to stay.
Dente is surrounded by a host of talented seniors, including Len Lesser (Uncle Leo, Seinfeld), Pat Crawford Brown (the secretary, Coach), and Luce Morgan and Richard Jury who, like Lesser and Brown, have a host of television, film and stage credits. The comedic timing of the group is impeccable, but it is their ability to wring the deep feelings and convictions from a lifetime of commitments that ultimately touch every heart in the theatre.
The Arvada Center's production of Joe Di Pietro's Over the River and Through the Woods runs through September 30th. 303-431-3939.