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THEATER REVIEW: “Sunset Park”

Years ago, a new housing development in San Diego was briefly named Climax Park. I wanted to scrawl “Newlyweds Only” beneath the sign.

Apologies if that’s TMI, but I was reminded of it when I heard that “Sunset Park” is about getting old. Aha, said I to myself, a metaphor.

Sure enough. Scripps Ranch Theatre presents Marley Sims and Elliot Shoenman’s meditation on aging, guilt and survival, “Sunset Park,” through April 19. Eric Poppick directs.

Sunset Park is the name of a Brooklyn apartment building where widow Evelyn (Carm Greco) has spent the last 50 years, much of that time talking to across-the-hall neighbor Rose (Connie Terwilliger). They decided years ago that they’d someday move to Italy together.

Both are now in their 70s and both have kids who alternately delight and annoy the heck out of them, but only Evelyn harbors a long-ago trauma. Rose has a secret she doesn’t know how to tell Evelyn.

Evelyn’s well-off adult son Roger (Charles Peters) and broke daughter Carol (Brenda Adelman) squabble as much as we assume they did as kids, even about whose turn it is to visit mom when they inadvertently show up on the same day.

When Roger finds an opened letter stating that mom’s apartment building is going co-op and she has only a few days to notify them whether she wants to buy, more arguing ensues about whether to buy, who can swing the deal and who gets the profits if they do.

“Sunset Park” is a bit Neil Simonesque, with fairly typical problems, identifiable characters and lots of amusing lines. There is the expected, much feared talk about a senior residence and a few too many flashbacks, where the source of Evelyn’s guilt is explained.

Greco’s Evelyn is a pistol, the sun around whom everybody else revolves. Andy Scrimger’s lovely kitchen set gives her and the others a comfortable, familiar place to play.

Terwilliger’s Rose is a calming influence, while Adelman and Peters keep the pot boiling with their constant bickering.

Kristin Woodburn, David Ryan Gutierrez and Haig Koshkarian are fine in smaller roles.

“Sunset Park” certainly offers familiar situations, and director Eric Poppick keeps the show moving nicely.

Forgive me, but I’m a little tired of hearing about getting old. I agree with Rose: “It stinks, getting old.”

The details

“Sunset Park” plays through April 19 at Scripps Ranch Theatre, 9783 Avenue of Nations, off Pomerado Road in Scripps Ranch (on the campus of Alliant International University).

Friday and Saturday at 8 pm; Sunday at 2 pm.

Tickets: (858) 578-7728 or HERE.

To read more reviews by SDGLN Theater Critic Jean Lowerison, click HERE.