Bergman also does a bait and switch on the audience. First we're asked to laugh at Sophie, then we're supposed to root for her as she becomes Maurice's late-life lover and artistic muse. The U-turn is navigated in CTD's production by actors comfortable with making lovable fools of themselves. Comess' delicate touches with Sophie give grace to what could be a broadly overplayed caricature of an octagenarian. The actress seems to lose 20 years of droop with her first glance at Maurice.
Everyone in the CTD ensemble is tiptop. Director Cheryl Denson, always a whiz with the funny, wouldn't have it any other way. Nye Cooper is all rolling eyes and bony joints as David. Nobody's better with a comic aside. "I'm flip, which is another way of being shy," he cracks.
Randy Pearlman, Mary-Margaret Pyeatt, Marcia Carroll and Nye Cooper, secure in their roles in Contemporary Theatre's production of Social Security.
Social Security continues through September 2 at Contemporary Theatre of Dallas. Call 214-828-0094.
Pyeatt and Pearlman play up their opposite body types to great effect. Marcia Carroll, who possesses snap timing and stupendous legs, plays a beautifully wacky Barbara. Her take on the character is to let her mouth hop the IRT express while her brain's still waiting on the platform. And as Maurice, Harry Reinwald, probably only half as old as his role, makes us believe that underneath the old gray ponytail is a still-sexy stud.
In this senior Cinderella story, love conquers all, even acid reflux and a formulaic script. Is it a great play? Hardly. But look, it's summertime in theaterland and we need to laugh a lot and sigh a little and enjoy a little schmaltz with a side of icy Tab. Reasons enough to see Social Security? Check.