Whoever said “my family put the fun in dysfunctional,” it might well have been a precocious twelve year old lad named Rudy Pazinski of his growing up adventures in Buffalo, New York in the 1950’s Eisenhower era. Tom Dudzick’s delightfully perceptive comedy about family life, growing up Roman Catholic, is “Over the Tavern” and it will be entertaining people of all ages until Sunday, October 30 at Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury.
Carey Cannata’s Rudy is a little too smart for his own good, especially if you’re taking a poll among his earnest Catechism teacher, Sister Clarissa (Noel Desiasto) who says Rudy could well be the death of her and she may be right, or his siblings. Older brother Eddie (Ben Scanlon) is trying to distance himself from the household, now that he’s in high school and he looks on Rudy as pesky. His sister Annie (Mandy Thompson) is a teenager waking up sexually and she is confused by what she is feeling and doing The youngest sibling Georgie (Tony Harkin) is mentally challenged and Rudy is supposed to guard him and keep him from harm, in word and deeds.
His parents Ellen and Chet (Sarah Knapp and Michael Sacco) have their hands full, not only with remembering to put spaghetti and meatballs on the dinner table but with helping grandpa stop drinking and keeping the tavern profitable. If it isn’t worrying about Rudy never taking his confirmation or Annie teasing her hair into a beehive where spiders can nest, it’s monitoring the uncensored words coming out of Georgie’s mouth and needing a GPS monitoring system to keep tabs on Eddie’s whereabouts.
Rudy, who is adorable in the hands of Carey Cannata, tries to get his dad to take him to play miniature golf and get God to be more like Ed Sullivan where life is a “really big show.” Inbetween all the angst, there are sweet moments when mom and dad do an impromptu polka and Eddie beats up his friend who is spreading rumors about Annie. Whether you believe sinners should be astonished or admonished, “Over the Tavern, as directed by Semina De Laurentis has much to offer on the innerworkings of a family who learn in a thousand simple ways how to have fun and bond together.
For tickets ($29-39.50), call Seven Angels Theatre, Plank Road, Hamilton Park Pavilion, Waterbury at 203-757-4676 or online at www.sevenanglestheatre.org. Performances are Thursday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Let Rudy, as his favorite man Ed Sullivan, guide you into his world, where he questions authority all the way to the big man in charge as he seeks a little bit and a large bite of heaven on earth.