Phabulous Phillie

Wrda Hussain reviews

Dennis Corsi’s well-staged production of The Phillie Trilogy tells a story about a queer youth named Phillie McDougal (Bonale Fambrini) raised in Long Island, during the 1970s.

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In this production we witness Phillie’s childhood, his experiences and the situations an emerging gay boy-man would encounter. We see his life as a homosexual and the hatred he receives from his classmates whilst acquiring a few good relationships along the way … like his best friend, Barbie Bradley (Maeve Press).

This production is separated into three acts. The first act being about his mother, Veronica McDougal (Teresa Kelsey) and her friend Grace Bradley (Karen Irwin) as they spend an afternoon drinking and smoking (this IS the 70s), conversing about their children and the town.

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The second act gives us an insight into Phillie’s childhood. This act showcases the hardships he faces being queer and his father’s (David Sabella) reaction upon finding out. The third and final act depicts Phillip (David Sabella in a dual role – as was the entire cast) adulthood, living in an apartment as a successful writer of a series of children’s books based on he and Barbie’s youth.

The performances were on-a-whole engaging. With moments of “fantastic” in there. Nuances both in character and background depicting period, personality, and tax-bracket made each a convincing homage to a time and thought. Playwright Doug DeVita’s dialogue seemed to roll trippingly off the tongue. Notables included Teresa Kelsey humorous and engaging as a suburban 70s mom. Bonale Fambrini was quite powerful for one so young. David Sabella was wonderful as the gruff working-class father AND the effete Phillie, circa 2017. Special nod to the costumes, which gave us the prerequisite preppy colors and pantsuits plus wide waist belts transporting us 40+ years ago.

Phillie Trilogy is that type of play that is both entertaining and learning experience.

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