Review: INCIDENT AT OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP at Florida Repertory Theatre
Now through November 13.
Florida Repertory Theatre endured enormous impacts from Hurricane Ian, but they were still able to open INCIDENT AT OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP on time – and what a perfect time for this show.
INCIDENT AT OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP is a memory play set in the 1970s that follows the O’Shea family, who are middle-class, Irish, and Catholic. Linda O’Shea (Emma Geer) narrates the show as she takes the audience through a flashback of memories of a specific week that changed her life when she was 19. Suzanne O’Donnell plays her mother, Josephine O’Shea, David Breitbarth plays her father, Mike O’Shea (as well as Fr. Lovett and Betty), Gigi Lieze-Adams plays her younger sister, Becky O’Shea, and Carine Montbertrand plays her aunt, Theresa Carmichael. When Josephine asks Linda to tell Becky about puberty and the birds and the bees, things go a bit awry. It takes every member of the O’Shea family to protect their reputation, which was incredibly important in the 70s.
This cast is absolutely wonderful. Emma Geer does a beautiful job taking the audience through Linda’s journey, and I found her performance captivating. She has an exuberant spirit that is perfect for this character, especially since Linda breaks the 4th wall often to address the audience and tell them what is happening in each of the “dominoes” that occur in her memories. I thoroughly enjoyed her interactions with Gigi Lieze-Adams, who did a fabulous job portraying the innocent and naive younger sister, Becky. Suzanne O’Donnell and David Breitbarth both return to Florida Rep this season after starring in A Doll’s House, Part 2 together last season, and what a joy it was to see them back on stage. O’Donnell plays the emotional, but well-meaning mother, Josephine, while Breitbarth plays the stubborn and strong-willed father, Mike. It was also very fun to see Breitbarth take on two other roles in the show, Father Lovett and Betty. Carine Montbertrand is absolutely hilarious as Terri, and I really enjoyed watching her stand up for Linda and Becky.
This production is directed by Chris Clavelli, with set design by Jim Hunter, costume design by Kim Griffin, lighting design by Julie Duro, sound design by Katie Lowe, and stage management by Audrey M. Brown. This creative team did a fantastic job. Each element added to the production. The costumes were perfect for this setting and these characters, the set was reminiscent of a 70s home, and the lighting and sound, along with wonderful direction, brought it all to life.
INCIDENT AT OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP provides a laugh that everyone in Southwest Florida needs right now. It is hilarious, heartfelt, and more. It runs through this weekend, November 13. I highly recommend getting tickets and seeing it if you can.
Florida Rep also needs help getting back on their feet after all of the damage they suffered. To donate to their hurricane relief campaign, click here: https://tickets.floridarep.org/TheatreManager/1/login&donation=xx
For more information about the show and to buy tickets, click the link below.