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Fall Theater Review: Hampton Theatre Company’s "Clever Little Lies"

T.J. Clemente

Carolann Dipirro, Diana Marbury, Terrance Fiore, and Edward A. Brennan. (Courtesy Photo)

Clever Little Lies, a play written by Joe DiPietro and produced by the Hampton Theatre Company, is now playing at the Quogue Community Center. Go see it! You will laugh, you might squirm a bit, but you will be entertained and leave glad you saw this show. Why? Because Director Andrew Botsford has used his skills and talent to make this contemporary show, with a small cast of four, come together. They create the best of what a theatre experience can and should be.

In its 33rd season, the Hampton Theatre Group's first show, Clever Little Lies, is a winner. The coziness of the Quogue Community Center always adds something to all the productions I have attended there. The venue has an authentic distinctive panache. The energy of the venue is positive, with a touch of the best of Americana that the East End of Long Island always delivers. The audiences are always attentive and sophisticated.

Diana Marbury (Alice) is brilliant. She is the glue/grease/energy that propels this show to more than just a local community theater production and into something special. The last time I reviewed Clever Little Lies, it was produced at Guild Hall in July of 2014. Marlo Thomas played the lead role of Alice to much fanfare. Quite frankly, Diana Marbury brings more layers of depth to that role in this production. Her timing, her movement, and her clear various modulations of her lines gives the other three actors in the show the space to breath, to shine and come together as a cast. Diana Marbury gives quite a performance.

Playing Alice's husband, Bill Sr., is Terrence Fiore, who deserves a huge share of accolades too. I must admit he played Bill Sr. in such a touching and endearing way, that at times I thought I was watching William Frawley doing his brilliant Fred Mertz from the I Love Lucy days. Terrence Fiore's comedic timing and delivery of his punch lines are that good. Director Botsford no doubt played a hand in bringing out the best of Diana Marbury and Terrence Fiore. They both are excellent under the lights of this production.

Carolann DiPirro who plays daughter-in-law, Jane, and Edward Brennan who plays son, Billy, are endearing to the audience. Their performances are notable and convincing. They have many good moments, yet I believe DiPietro's playwriting reigns in the scope of what they can do with their lines. I believe the power behind the dynamics of the show ascends from the life experience of the parents and their view of the circle of life, along with a touch of Aristotle's views on the concept of "happiness" and what is "happy." All this is achieved while the playwright is taking dead aim at the dynamics of marital infidelity.

Behind every stage production is the contribution of many. I will mention a few. Sean Marbury, I love your set design and also kudos to Diana Marbury for set decor. Sebastian Paczynski, bravo for your lighting design, as well as a job well done to costume designer Teresa Lebrun.

Finally I must mention that although Clever Little Lies is a one-act play, there are blackout scene changes that will dazzle you. The transformation of the stage, done in total blackout, in total silence creates a magical effect. The change from the men's tennis locker room to the home living room is just amazing. The show closes Sunday, November 12, somehow please get there to see this production of Clever Little Lies. It is that good.

Tickets begin at $10.

Quogue Community Center is located at 125 Jessup Avenue in Quogue. For more information, call 631-653-8955 or visit www.hamptontheatre.org.

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