‘The Last Romance’ provides touching comedic summer diversion

GORE BAY— This year’s trifecta of plays being presented by the Gore Bay Theatre have been proving very popular with the Island’s theatre going crowd, with near capacity seating at each performance to date. The Expositor took in the Joe DiPietro romantic comedy ‘The Last Romance’ on July 24 starring veteran thespians Vincente Belenson as Ralph Bellini, Kay Valentine as his dog-loving late winter romantic interest and Lorraine Evans as Ralph’s grumpy nosy sister Rose.

The role of the frustrated opera singer/retired railroad man Ralph Bellini plays well to Mr. Belenson’s strong suits as an actor, who could draw gales of laughter with a well-timed grimace or eye-roll, and his comedic timing during the summer evening performance was nothing short of impeccable.

Kay Evans takes a role that could so easily have been presented as an over-the-top caricature and fills out the female romantic lead with consummate skill to create a portrait of a woman facing a terrible dilemma that can give younger generations a window into the sensibilities and concerns of their grandparents’ generation.

Lorraine Evans breathes life into the bellicose Rose, taking the grumpy overprotective sibling to the kind of realism that might give someone pause when meeting her on the street after the show. She kept it real, but interpreted Mr. DiPietro’s dialogue and motivation with the kind of pathos that years of stage experience can bring to a role.

The production elicited a standing ovation from the audience at its conclusion and, judging by the roars of laughter throughout the performance, directors Walter Maskel and Andrea Emmerton have scored a theatrical hat trick in mounting ‘The Last Romance’ along with their award wining drama ‘Agnes of God’ and the children’s favourite ‘Murmel, Murmel, Mortimer Munsch.’

‘The Last Romance’ final performances take place 7:30 pm July 29 and 31 at the Gore Bay Community Centre, while the final performance of ‘Agnes of God’ takes at 7:30 pm place on July 30. Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 at the door and can be obtained at the Gore Bay town office or the box office between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm Monday to Friday or by calling 705-281-2420, extension 3.