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Transcript: Connie Meng Review aired Friday, October 12, 2001

2 Pianos, 4 Hands

1000 Islands Playhouse, Gananoque, ON. Thursday, October 4 through Sunday, October 28, 2001.

The production of 2 PIANOS, 4 HANDS now playing at the 1000 Island Playhouse is one of the most enjoyable and entertaining theatre pieces I've seen this year. With a cast of 2 accomplished pianists who also happen to be excellent actors, it appeals to everyone whether or not they are knowledgeable about music or the piano.

The play is about growing up, learning, making life decisions, maturing, and the quest for excellence. It has lots of humor, both physical and verbal, and a goodly portion of pianistic fireworks.

The piece was written by two very talented actor/playwright/pianists, Ted Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt. It was directed by Andy McKim, who directed the original production, and his intimate knowledge of the material shows. This production was put together by the Studio Arena Theatre of Buffalo, N.Y. All the technical elements provide a smooth professional look, which enhances this unique "dual-biography".

Tom Frey as Richard and Richard Todd Adams as Ted are both very appealing in their respective roles. They're good physical comedians and are hilarious in the early scenes. Mr. Frey is especially adept at creating off-the-wall characterizations that still manage to maintain believability. They are both very good in the later more serious scenes. I found Mr. Adams particularly touching, as the depth of the character's emotion was really unexpected. Mr. Frey does a nice jazz version of "My Funny Valentine", and they both certainly know their way around a piano with everything from Jerry Lee Lewis to Johann Sebastian Bach.

Some smart theatre manager should snap up this terrific production when the run at 1000 Islands Playhouse is over and continue it elsewhere. It's a delight from beginning to end. On a scale of one to five, the Studio Arena Theatre production of 2 PIANOS, 4 HANDS at the 1000 Islands Playhouse gets five fish. For North Country Public Radio, I'm Connie Meng.

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