When you’re in a long-term relationship it’s sometimes hard to remember why you’re with the other person. Luckily for Corrie and Paul Bratter they’re newly-weds – 6 days married and full to the brim with love for each other and life.
Corrie (Olivia Bernstone) is an optimistic happy wife. Carefree and always wanting to look on the bright side of life, she’s the perfect antidote to her more uptight and anxious new husband Paul (Jamie Treacher). Over the course of four days, we watch as the twosome learn to live together and navigate the mundanities of life from their top floor apartment. Corrie’s mother, Ethel Banks (Olivia Carruthers), and their upstairs neighbour, Victor Velasco (Nathan Osgood), provide enough skits to make this period comedy work.
‘Barefoot in the Park’ is about wanting to be free, and Corrie has made it her goal to get her husband to lighten up and run barefoot in the park. But when he actually does that, it leads to a fallout, and she soon realises maybe she’s overlooked what she already had. Not everybody, it would appear, is suited to running barefoot in the park! This insight into understanding and appreciating the other person for what they are and what they bring to the relationship is a key lesson we can all take from this period comedy.
The set design (Sorcha Corcoran) on this production was superb. The audience were transported to a top floor apartment up a breathtaking (literally) seven – or was that eight? – flight of stairs. The costumes (Neil Gordon) were also bang on the money, along with the music which really set the scene.
‘Barefoot in the Park’ is sweet, easy watching, although perhaps a little slow at times. The plot is rather thin especially for more modern audiences who’ve become accustomed to an influx of layers and meanings in their productions, and thus at times, it did feel dated. However, in a world where everything has subtext and we are bombarded by the need for over-analysis of everything, ‘Barefoot in the Park’ does what it says on the tin. Be free. Be happy. Be wild.
Playing until 22nd July, https://www.frintonsummertheatre.org/
Reviewer: Samantha Collett
Reviewed: 18th July 2023
North West End UK Rating: