“The Last Romance” is aptly titled, as it is a light look at last-chance love.
The Florida Studio Theatre production is sweetly charming, gently amusing and sure to please, especially those who appreciate a mature take on “been-there-done-that” in the relationship department. Actress Marion Davies (“Happy Days”) and her husband, actor Paul Mitchell, commissioned playwright Joe Pietro, who won Tony awards for “Memphis,” to write this piece.
The play is character-driven, and, fortunately, director Russell Treyz, a Drama Desk Award recipient, has chosen some of the best character actors in town for it. He also has added an adorable dog to complete a little “menage a chien,’” which proves pivotal to the slight plot.
David S. Howard is a joy to experience in the lead part of Ralph, an elderly widower who unexpectedly finds love by taking a wrong turn on his daily walk in the park. With a resume that includes 20 seasons of Asolo Repertory Theatre productions and roles in “Meet Joe Black,” “Crimes and Misdemeanors,” “Moonstruck” and “I’m Not Rappaport,” Howard is utterly delightful as the ardent, wisecracking, yet humbly entreating Ralph.
Barbara Broughton is perfectly appealing as Carol, who’s determined to make the most of her life alone after the long-term illness of her husband. Broughton has appeared on and off Broadway in “Sunday in Park with George” and “A Little Night Music,” as well as in numerous regional productions and the film version of “The Producers.”
In the role of Ralph’s sister — slightly deluded, decidedly cranky, Rose — versatile Marina Re portrays the character as funny, irritating and sympathetic, all at once.
Dane Reese is notable as the Young Man.
Costume and scenic designer April Soroko has created a lovely, impressionistic rendering of Central Park in autumn for the production.
When You Go
“The Last Romance” continues at Florida Studio Theatre through Feb. 12.
The theater is located at 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. For ticket information, visit www.floridastudiotheatre.org or call 366-9000.
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