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By Robert Delaney
When a New York City man brings home a stray dog from Central Park, it's good for his mid-life crisis but proves a threat to his marriage, in A.R. Gurney's 1995 comedy "Sylvia," the latest production of the Two Muses Theatre at the Barnes & Noble Booksellers in West Bloomfield Township.
Directed by Diane Hill, "Sylvia" is yet another very fine production by this new theater company that specializes in shows that have great parts for women.
And the title role in this play is a plum part for any young actress willing to try her skill at portraying an energetic pooch.
Greg (John DeMerell) is a middle-aged man unhappy at his job, and the lively friendliness of Sylvia (Barbie Amann Weisserman) is just what he needs to revive his spirits.
But for his wife, Kate (Nancy Cooper), excited about her challenging new inner-city teaching job, Sylvia is a nuisance - and goes from being just a nuisance to a serious competitor for her husband's love and attention.
Sylvia also proves to be a disruptive influence in Greg and Kate's social life, as when their friend Phyllis (Jan Cartwright) comes over for a visit.
Greg gets sage advice about the dangers of getting too emotionally involved with a pet dog from a fellow dog owner Tom (Joshua Brown) he talks with whenever he takes Sylvia to the park.
Kate does get Greg to go for some professional counseling, and Leslie (Margaret Gilkes) turns out to be a truly unusual therapist.
Amann Weisserman's performance is just a delight, and everybody else is quite good as well.
Bill Mandt's set and Lucy Meyo's lighting design provide a clever way of moving from the indoor scenes to those in the park, with the help of some projected visuals.
This is a fun show that is done well - great entertainment by talented local performers.
SHOW DETAILS: "Sylvia" continues through July 1 at the Barnes & Noble Booksellers Theatre Space, 6800 Orchard Lake Road south of Maple Road in West Bloomfield Township, with performances at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays. For ticket information, call 248-850-9919 or go to www.twomusestheatre.org.
Reprinted with permission of the New Monitor, June 14, 2012
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