Theater Review: Beloit Civic Theatre’s ‘Last Romance’

By Edith McCauley
Theater Critic

Beloit Civic Theatre continues to entertain for its 80th season with Joe DiPietro’s The Last Romance. The choice of work is perfect for the audience consisting of many seniors. Director Patricia Moran Collins has chosen the perfect cast.

Steve Hay plays Ralph Bellini, the 80-year-old brother, living with his sister Rose. Pat Hall is the crochety sister who has cared for her brother when deserted by her husband. Ralph first appears on stage seated on a park bench at a dog park. This is a bit puzzling since he has no dog, but we soon find the object of his interest is Carol, played by Donna Balsley. A lovely lady whose tiny dog is roaming the park soon finds Ralph to be a bit of a nuisance.

The entire play is basically the development of their relationship and the complications that arise. Ralph, a good Italian Catholic, has a deep love of opera and actually auditioned for the Met as a young man. It is Adam Gracyalny who appears throughout the production singing the operatic numbers that become so important to the plot.

The audience loved every aspect of the play and responded enthusiastically to the clever lines, especially the humor. It is not often that we as seniors find a production completely focused on our age group. The problems of aging often contribute to isolation, and it is good to see the joy found in developing new relationships.

Director Collins leaves the company to begin a retirement journey with her husband, devoting a year to a cross-country trip. She will be sorely missed. The new season opens next September, and a familiar face, that of Barry Nyquist, whom we know so well from New American Theater, will be directing. Auditions for that show will take place Aug. 5-6. For further information, call (815) 968-4204.

This company has fine community support, and for further information, call (608) 362-1595.

From the May 8-14, 2013, issue

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