Rumor has it the Off-Broadway play A Room of My Own, by Charles Messina starring “Karate Kid’s” Ralph Machio and Mario Cantone is in talks to become a TV series. Selling out at the Abingdon Theatre celebrities have already been attending. I have watched this play grow since, it was in readings five years ago. The Abingdon production has gotten a lot more filthy and in your face.
The show takes place in a cramped one room apartment in Greenwich Village, where Carl Morelli (Ralph Macho) is recalling his past between swigs of Pepto Bismol. In this sardine of an apartment, ten year old wisecracking Carl (Nico Bustamante) interacts with his older self and he fights for the covers he shares with his father Peter (Johnny Tammaro) an out of work gambler who cooks the Italian Fare. On a sad sack dilapidated twin bed his sister (Kendra Jain) reluctantly shares with his foul mouth mother Dotty (Joli Tribuzio) who is the bread winner. It is Christmas Eve to New Years in 1979.
Until Joli Tribuzio (Mario Cantone) enters voice first, this show is like a sitcom for the low class. At least with Cantone, the show becomes amusing. Even more foul mouthed than his sister Dotty this bluntly gay, self-loathing, lonely, bigoted, loud mouth is full of warmth. The scenes between Tribuzio and Cantone are real moments, touching despite the vulgarity.
Dotty has gambled away the school tuition, so she bad mouths the nun who is trying to collect. At one point the nun was in the show and it work to the shows credit. Completing the “Wonderful Life” moment Jean Morelli (Liza Vann), Peter’s sister writes a big fat check and saves the day, though thanks to Dotty the real moment never happens.
Cannot, steals the show, with Tribuzio keeping up the pace. Tammaro is the perfect choice for casting and we believe every moment of his gas spilling deadbeat father role. Even the young Bustamante is a perfect fit. who is not is Ralph Macho who seems to have lost his spark.
Messina also directs this piece and is a better director. Many will like this overly abundant four letter word play, me I need more than 90-minute’s of seeing how the lower class live.
I can see A Room of My Own becoming a Married With Children. I can also see why this show has a almost sold out run.
A Room of My Own: Abingdon Theatre, 312 W. 36th St. until March 13th. If you want to see this in looking at the ticketing there is only one night not sold out. I expect this show to extend.