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‘Romance’ is poignant peek at twilight love

Joyce Rudolph

All the tensions of a 21st-century romance flow through “A

Twilight Romance,” the current play at The Falcon Theatre in Burbank.

But what makes this love affair unique and endearing is how these two

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senior citizens handle the pressures of courting, sex and fidelity.

The poignant story by Mayo Simon, in its world premiere, explores

the relationship of Netty (Katherine Helmond), a widow living alone

and wrestling with deteriorating eyesight, and Gilbert, (Robert

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Mandan) an aging playboy with a bad heart, who also lives alone.

Netty has her heart set on finding one man to spend the rest of

her life with. Yet, she doesn’t think that man is Gilbert. On the

nights she’s not with him, she calls him, but he never answers, and

she suspects he is out gallivanting with other women. And then, there

is his mysterious housekeeper who only works at night.

On those few evenings Netty does join him for dinner at his

apartment, Gilbert is more interested in whisking her off to his

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bedroom than sharing in good conversation. But Netty’s modesty,

suspicion and stubbornness get the best of her, and they end up

bickering until finally Netty grabs her purse and storms out the

door.

Helmond and Mandan grasp each end of the rope expertly in this

emotional tug-of-war. Helmond’s monologues cut to the core the

feelings of a woman bound by her insecurities in the relationship she

would rather give up than fight to salvage. Mandan relates well

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Gilbert’s exasperation with Netty’s irritability and shyness.

Roy Abramsohn gracefully shows the patience of a saint as the

couples’ medical doctor who has no choice in doubling as their

relationship counselor.

Director Jules Aaron keeps the action at an even pace. Set changes

are made swiftly, as the couples’ apartments and the doctor’s office

revolve on a carousel. Robert Frye’s set designs depict the couples’

comfortable single apartments. Lighting by Brian Gale and taped

Lawrence Welk music by sound technician Robert Arturo Ramirez nicely

complement the production.


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