Performed in February 2016
It's 1969: Barney is a married, middle-aged New Yorker who wants to join the sexual revolution. He arranges assignations in his mother's apartment with neurotic Elaine, crazy Bobbi and depressed Jeanette, his best friend's wife, but nothing goes according to plan. A painfully funny but kind-hearted play by Neil Simon,a master of American comedy, featuring Sophie Brown, Jane Buckle, Lynn Goslin and Martin Vander Weyer.
Barney Cashman, owner of a New York fish restaurant: Martin Vander Weyer
Elaine Navazio, housewife: Jane Buckle
Bobbi Michele, actress and singer: Sophie Brown
Jeanette Fisher, wife of Barney’s best friend Mel: Lynn Goslin
The scene is Barney’s mother’s one-room apartment on East 37th Street in Manhattan.
Director: Martin Vander Weyer
Assistant Director: Jean Sheridan
Stage Manager: Erica Zarb
Stage Technicians: Steve Woolmer, Chris Stevens
With thanks to Paddy Clough, Charlie Bailey
and Marguerite Weyer.
The illustration was drawn and donated by Michael Heath MBE.
There will be intervals after Acts 1 and 2.
Bloomingdales is New York’s most famous department store.
Sheepshead Bay is a neighbourhood of Brooklyn, facing the
The Mercury Theatre On The Air was the radio version of the
theatre company founded by Orson Welles, notorious for its 1938 ‘War of the Worlds’ broadcast.
The Shubert Theater has been home to many famous Broadway
David Merrick was a New York theatre producer.
Merv Griffin was a television chat show and game show host.
Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon starred in a series of 1960s
Californian ‘Beach Party’ movies. Annette also appeared with The Beach Boys in ‘The Monkey’s Uncle’ (1965) and with Fabian, a teen-idol singing star, in ‘Thunder Alley’ (1967).
Wantagh and Great Neck are neighbourhoods of Long Island, in New York’s outer suburbia. ‘Digilene’ seems to have been a precursor of Prozac.
The theme song What the World Needs Now Is Love (lyrics by Hal David, music by Burt Bacharach) was first recorded by Jackie DeShannon in April 1965. Let a smile be your umbrella was a song that was recorded by Bing Cosby and Perry Como.
Journalist and author Martin Vander Weyer is a founder member of the 1812 Theatre Co. Antique shop owner Jane Buckle and speech therapist Lynn Goslin are also long-time members: Jane played Amanda in the 1812’s recent touring production of Noel Coward’s Private Lives, and Lynn was Dame Daphne Littlewood in our 2011 staging of Oh Clarence!. We welcome newcomer Sophie Brown, who teaches Latin at Ampleforth St Martin’s prep school.
Neil Simon, born in 1927, is one of America’s greatest living writers for stage and screen and a master of the sharp but sympathetic style of comedy associated with New York’s Jewish community. One critic described Simon’s leading characters — such as Barney Cashman — as ‘imperfect, unheroic figures who are at heart decent human beings.’
At the height of his early fame in 1966, Simon had four shows running on Broadway at the same time. Last of the Red Hot Lovers premiered on Broadway in December 1969. Simon wrote it with the plump, balding, moon-faced actor James Coco in mind. Coco won a Tony award for his portrayal of Barney, and was succeeded in the role by Dom DeLuise. A film version (sadly not as good as the stage play) was made in 1972, starring Alan Arkin, Sally Kellerman, Paula Prentiss and Renée Taylor.
This is the third 1812 production of a Neil Simon play, following California Suite in 2001 and Barefoot in the Park in 2005.
The play is peppered with real-life American references from the 1960s and earlier…