BWW Review: NATIVE GARDENS at Florida Rep is Hilarious and Heartfelt!April 08, 2019
Florida Repertory Theatre’s production of NATIVE GARDENS closes out their 2018/19 season with a comedy that is not only very hilarious, but also quite heartfelt.
The cast of NATIVE GARDENS includes Carol Halstead as Virginia Butley, V Craig Heidenreich as Frank Butley, Anthony Michael Martinez as Pablo Del Valle, and Jennifer Paredes as Tania Del Valle. This cast was excellent. As NATIVE GARDENS is performed in Florida Rep’s ArtStage Studio Theatre, the audience is very BWW Review: NATIVE GARDENS at Florida Rep is Hilarious and Heartfelt!close to the action. This cast did an incredible job at making the story feel genuine, as if you were really watching neighbors battle over their property line and their gardens. Though they all had many humorous moments, some of Heidenreich’s Frank’s reactions to parts of the story, from a look to even a tremble in his voice, made the audience burst into laughter because of how well-timed and funny they were. I also very much enjoyed Paredes in her portrayal of Tania; she had some beautifully insightful moments throughout this show, and I think those lessons are important for BWW Review: NATIVE GARDENS at Florida Rep is Hilarious and Heartfelt!everyone to understand, especially in today’s world.
The set of NATIVE GARDENS, designed by Ray Recht, was beautiful. I’m always curious to see how Florida Rep changes up their ArtStage Studio Theatre to fit each production, as each set is very unique, and this one was no different. The two “houses” were on either side of the stage, and their yards met near the middle. Because the story takes place outdoors, there were lots of flowers and greenery on the set, and I really liked the authenticity of it all.BWW Review: NATIVE GARDENS at Florida Rep is Hilarious and Heartfelt!
NATIVE GARDENS is the perfect show to end an amazing 2018/19 season at Florida Rep; it is lighthearted, smart, and definitely one of the most amusing productions I’ve seen in a long time. I very much appreciated the sentimentality it had as well; there were some incredibly thoughtful and reflective moments that made this bright comedy even better, and I enjoyed every moment of it.
NATIVE GARDENS is playing in Florida Rep’s ArtStage Studio Theatre now through May 19. Performances are Tuesday-Thursday at 7 PM, Friday-Saturday at 8 PM, with 2 PM matinees on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. To buy tickets, you can visit www.floridarep.org, call Florida Rep at 239-332-4488, or stop by the box office at 2268 Bay Street, Fort Myers, FL, 33901.
by Emily Yorgey Apr. 8, 2019