Ronnie Marmo and the 68 Cent Theater Company have opened their brand new theater with Samual Shem and Janet Surrey’s heartfelt drama chronicling the lives of Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, and the births of Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon. Charles Hayes and Art La Fleur, two accomplished character actors, reprise their roles of Bill W. and Dr. Bob with passion and a contagious chemistry.
Hayes delivers a layered, emotional study of the brilliant, kinetic, but fatally flawed stockbroker Wilson. La Fleur maintains a solid, calming presence throughout his masterful portrayal of Dr. Bob and the battles he waged against his self-destructive drinking. Their struggles to fashion the steps and pass on the program are also recounted.
Andrea Birkman is terrific as Lois, Bill’s loyal but emotionally battered wife. And Cathrine Grace captures the caring, steadfast nature of Dr. Bob’s spouse, Anne.
Marmo’s direction sensitively guides the action. He’s also first-rate as Billy, a drunken lawyer and the first AA convert.
Also outstanding are Tommy Colavito as Ebby, Bill’s recovering friend, and Maryscott O’Connor as Hen, Billy’s desperate wife.
Written 11/26/2003 (Jim Crogan)