The fact that leads Stacey Storey and Jeff Statler are a couple in real life only increases the intimacy of Neil Simon's comedy "Same Time, Next Year," a play that often manages to be ribald, poignant and funny at the same time.
The River City Players production begins tonight at the River City Yacht Club in Cape Girardeau. "Same Time, Next Year" was the RCP's first production 20 years ago and is being staged again to celebrate the anniversary.
Storey and Statler play monogamous adulterers, two married people who spend the night together after becoming acquainted in a restaurant and decide to return to the inn each year to catch up.
As Doris, Storey changes costumes six times and wigs five times as the play progresses through 20 years. She finishes high school, becomes a hippie war protester and eventually a hard-nosed businesswoman and grandmother.
Storey makes the transitions convincingly. She roars when George, Statler's character, is at his neurotic worst, particularly when he feels faint.
The year she's eight months pregnant and when her water bursts she yells, "This is no time to start acting like Butterfly McQueen."
Statler's character, progresses, too, from guilt-ravaged accountant to impotence to guilt-ravaged Goldwater voter. He also has a tragic side Statler handles particularly well.
The two tell each other stories about their spouses, both good and bad, and get to know each other's children through pictures. This is a play ostensibly about adultery, but it's really about how we get through life.
"Same Time, Next Year" is intended for a mature audience.
Statler is directing the play and has it well in hand. Storey and Keith West are the assistant directors. Two of Storey's children, Natasha Storey-Ford and Shadrick Beechem are members of the stage crew. Other crew members are Sally Finch, Elle Anders and Judith Golightly. The set design is by Tim Roth.
335-6611, extension 182
Want to go?
What: "Same Time, Next Year"
When: Doors open 6 p.m. today, Saturday, Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, with dinner served at 6:30 p.m. and the performance at 8 p.m.; Show-only performance is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: River City Yacht Club in Port Cape Girardeau restaurant, Cape Girardeau
Admission: $19.95 for dinner theater, $7 for show only