Saturday, July 20, 2024

Love on Two Legs and Four Legs Trip Over Each Other In “CHAPATTI”

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By Bonnie Goldberg

Critic
Connecticut Critics Circle
Middletown Press

Loneliness and a scarcity of friends can often lead to depression and unhappiness.  Too many people in this world could use a healthy dose of companionship and neighborliness to cure what ails them. Many in this position turn to the unconditional love that a sweet little kitten or puppy can offer.  

Welcome the comforting arms provided in the solution offered by Westport Community Theatre with a Square one Theatre Company production of “Chapatti” by Christian O’Reilly, a bittersweet, touching and tender play of people and pets and how they can save each other.

Can a man who loves dogs and hates furry felines find happiness with a woman who has a harem of cats and kittens, especially when they both suffer from the agonizing affliction of loneliness?  A fine pair of actors, Al Kulcsar and Lucy Babbitt, are more than up to the task until Sunday, June 23 and you are invited to make their acquaintance in this endearing and charming Irish tale.

Ireland and India crash, literally and figuratively, when Al Kulcsar’s Dan bumps into Lucy Babbitt’s Betty at the office of their veterinarian.  His faithful dog Chapatti, named for a flat bread baked in India, encounters Betty’s box of newborn kittens and none of the pets or the people are ever the same again.  Through a set of complicated circumstances, these two strangers find their lives woven together in a bizarre set of ways, like a crazy quilt or a mismatched tapestry.  As this vulnerable pair interact, we become acquainted with them and begin to care deeply for their fates.

Lucy Babbitt

Al Kulcsar

The tragic loss of a cat becomes the starting point for their friendship and suddenly their solitary lives gain meaning and laughter and, shall I hint, the possibility of love.  All is not smooth on the horizon as Dan has a doghouse of secrets that become slowly apparent and Betty has her hands full using a bit of reverse psychology to help him through his mental missteps.  Set in Dublin, Ireland in the present, “Chapatti” is a fresh breathe of romantic air that as Shakespeare would say “doesn’t always run smooth.” But the Bard would also say, “All’s well that ends well” and he’d be right.

Both Kulcsar and Babbitt are wonderful in their roles, he tentatively shy and unassuming with desires that are unrealistic while she is shining optimism and filled with the infectious laughter of hope and promise.  Slowly but surely, she encourages him to open the windows of his life to possibilities, to let love fly in and take root. 

While the course of true love never did run smooth, this one is wild with laughter, barks and meows and lots of crossed fingers and hopeful horizons. 

Tom Holehan directs this poignant tale of compassion and friendship, of reaching out for company and companionship, to welcome second chances, that is sure to make your heart smile.  Bring a Kleenex or three just in case.

For tickets ($30), call Westport Community Theatre, 110 Myrtle Avenue, Westport at the Westport Town Hall  at 203-226-1983 or go online to www.westportcommunitytheatre.com.  Performances will be held Thursday,  June 13 at 8 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m.

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