To Baby or not to Baby

Nursery Rhymes, written and directed by Jan Ewing
Review by Luiza Ajgirevich (edited by Natasha Dawsen)

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Jan Ewing’s intimate ensemble turned in a great performance in Nursey Rhymes at the Hudson Guild Theater. Set in Chip and Irene’s living room, this domestic comedy play focuses on eager Irene – eager to have a child even though she is in her 30s, that is … while husband Chip is vastly against having a chip off his own block.

Colleen White played the fertile Irene Mangus with command, intelligence, and acerbic humor. Chip, as played by Patrick Hamilton held his own with high physical energy – and caustic humor equal to White.

The opening scene starts with a conversation that involves a couple in a discussion about having a child. Irene is eager to have a baby and she seems frustrated that Chip does not want to even hear about it or see the balloons, maternity magazines, and other less-than-subtle hints. Chip is concerned that it is too much of the burden or responsibility. He tries to convince his wife that it might change everything in their lives … in a negative way.

Saved by the bell … doorbell. Enter Marge and Frank, summoned by Irene as moral support and example of a happy ending as the 50-something couple have a 12-year-old. Ashley Formento as Marge, and J. Michael Baran as Frank brought a balance to the proceedings and even more wit.

After a cons & pros hashing about children, Frank delivers a 1-2 punch to Chip and the audience with a heartfelt and well-written solo about his mother.

Beautifully written and skillfully played, Nursery Rhymes is funny, welcoming, and deeply sincere. Jan Ewing has given us an astute piece about a timely and ever-growing topic.

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