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Entertainment & Lifestyle

Actors’ Summit’s ‘Handle with Care’ ‘charming’

4/3/2014 - West Side Leader
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By David Ritchey

From left, Arthur Chu, Keith Stevens, Natalie Kern and Marci Paolucci star in Actors’ Summit Theater’s “Handle with Care.”
Photo: Bruce Ford
DOWNTOWN AKRON — The road not taken is often the most seductive. For most of a lifetime, people often think about “what if.”

The road not taken challenges Edna (Marci Paolucci) in Actors’ Summit Theater’s production of “Handle with Care,” which is on stage through April 13.

Playwright Jason Odell Williams wrote a romantic comedy about Edna’s search for the man she let get away. The man is Christian and Edna is Jewish. Edna’s father met the man and then told Edna never to see him again. Edna later married a nice Jewish boy and lived happily until her husband died. Then she took a grand tour of the United States looking for the man.

Edna was accompanied on this odyssey by her granddaughter, Ayelet (Natalie Kern).

In Goodview, Va., the two women stay in a budget motel. In a nearby room, Terrence (Arthur Chu) has called his friend, Josh (Keith Stevens), for help. Terrence works for a delivery service, and he’s lost a large important box containing a body.

Terrence is understandably upset. Josh thinks the only solution for the missing box is to call the police.

Josh is a widower. His wife was killed in an auto accident about 20 months ago. He doesn’t want to meet any single women. When Ayelet finally meets Josh, the sexual tension fills the room. Unfortunately, she speaks mostly Hebrew and little English, and he speaks only English.

The cast was helped by Oudi Singer, their Hebrew coach.

Director Constance Thackaberry set a brisk pace for the show and helped the cast through some difficult scenes.

Chu makes Terrence a proper bumbling fool. Chu reasons every mistake Terrence made was perfectly logical and was meant to be (perhaps divine interference).

Stevens creates a rock solid Josh. This Josh exudes warmth and patience. However, his best friend Terrence pushes the nice guy Josh to the breaking point at times.

Paolucci is one of the best actresses in Northern Ohio. She makes her longing for a boy she dated when she was a teenager real and painful.

Kern becomes a charming, winning woman in her scenes with Edna. However, early in the play, her scenes in Hebrew seem over the top in volume and pitch. This makes them not believable.

“Handle with Care” is a charming romantic comedy. The show plays in Greystone Hall, 103 S. High St.

For ticket information, call 330-374-7568.

 

David Ritchey has a Ph.D. in communications and is a professor of communications at The University of Akron. He is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association.

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