By Bob Bows, Colorado Drama (Read the original.)
Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s regional premiere—the first production outside of its world premiere in New York—of David Lindsay-Abaire’s Ripcord is a barrel of laughs and then some. Imagine the mayhem that ensues when two older, polar opposite women, are forced to live together in an assisted living facility. No, it’s not The Odd Couple pairing of an OCD fanatic and a slob, it’s about one woman who won’t anger, Marilyn (Anne Oberbroeckling), and the other, Abby (Billie McBride), who won’t scare, both due to difficult personal histories in their family.
Oberbroeckling and McBride play off of each other so well, you’d think they’ve done this before. In fact, they recently finished a run in which they played opposite types (in The Last Romance). If you didn’t know that, you might think that this is a glimpse of their future. Seriously though, these guys push each other to the brink, where anything could happen next, and it does.
Of course, we have the brilliance of Lindsay-Abaire for the hilarious and unpredictable plot. Abby wants Marilyn to find another room and Marilyn wants to switch beds, for a better view out the window. It’s a stalemate, so they make a bet, without telling their kind attendant, Scotty (Michael Bouchard), who becomes exasperated at the brinksmanship. Bouchard is such a pleasant straight man to the elder comediennes that we never see the zinger coming that he plants at the conclusion.
And then, there are the “kids,” Marilyn’s Colleen (Lindsey Pierce) and Derek (Kevin Lowry), who amplify the zanniness, and Abby’s Lewis (Josh Hartwell), who provides a strong dose of reality.
In the pivotal scene at the end, Lindsay-Abaire and the fine cast, directed by Rebecca Remaly, have us guessing whether this is a comedy or a tragedy. Tina Anderson and Ron Mueller’s flexible set, with Brian Shea’s crisp and telling projections, take us the most unlikely places!