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New Theatre’s Visiting Hours

Spending Time With Unlikeable Characters Yields Little Merit


Roger Martin,  ATCA

Straightening Out the Bad Boy...

...Well, no, not really, and that, in part, is what leaves the feeling of dissatisfaction when watching Visiting Hours, New Theater’s latest offering. Not that we want rainbows and doughnuts at every final curtain but seeing unlikeable characters change not one whit hardly fosters care and concern.

L-R: Barbara Sloan, Madelin Marchant, Maria Corina Ramirez, Alex Alvarez.

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L-R: Barbara Sloan, Madelin Marchant, Maria Corina Ramirez, Alex Alvarez.

A middle aged lesbian couple, Beth and Marian, live above the garage of a Coral Gables home owned by Nat, also middle aged, also a lesbian and a predatory alcoholic. Marian has a son, Paul, in jail for beating up a woman. Paul’s girl friend, Shelly, a psychotic runaway, breaks into Beth and Marian’s apartment while they are out. She is seeking bail money for Paul, but Beth and Marian have no money; they paid off Paul’s gambling debts. So Marian uses their car as surety to spring Paul. You see where all this is going?

Barbara Sloan is Marian. She’s guilt ridden, blaming herself for Paul’s failures, hasn’t seen him or heard from him in two years and spends most of her time driving the streets, hoping to catch a glimpse somewhere, anywhere. A little whine, anyone?

Madelin Marchant in a solid, grounded performance is Beth, Marian’s longtime partner and sees Paul with a much clearer eye than his mother.

Kit Marsh, as Nat, desperate for affection, plays the lonely drinker well. Marina Corina Ramirez as Shelly acts in all directions at once, watchable at times, annoying at others.

Alex Alvarez, a big man, spreads the snake oil with ease, the ultimate dodger of all responsibility with no care for others.

Margaret M. Ledford directed with set design by Alyiece Moretto, sound by Matt Corey and lighting by Samuel Deshauteurs.

Visiting Hours plays through March 2 at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, 10950 SW 211 St, Cutler Bay. 786-573-5300 www.smdcac.org.

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