Review : 'Cheaters' at the Newport Playhouse

Caitlin Arcand

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending a fun filled evening at Newport Playhouse in Newport, Rhode Island. The night started off with a delicious dinner buffet, followed by their production of “Cheaters,” and ending with a cabaret show after the play. The staff was very friendly and accommodating, and I’m not just saying that because I have friends that work there, they were really great and helpful. 

Until last night, I had never seen a production of “Cheaters” before so I was very excited to experience a new show. The play is a comedy written by Michael Jacobs, and was directed by the playhouse’s director Tony Annicone. Though the theater itself is tiny, they certainly have a good sized stage that was appropriate for the production. The show featured six very talented actors and actresses, who for the most part, nailed their roles. Cindy Killavey, as the Jesus-crazy housewife definitely stole the show for me though. She was absolutely hilarious, and other actors Jim Killavey, Rick Bagley and Michelle Brennan were not far behind. They all had great comedic timing and fit their roles perfectly. The younger actors in the show, Meredith Imbimbo and Jacob Davis, definitely had a lot of work to do to keep up with the talent of their elder castmates. They both seemed a bit inexperienced, but maybe that’s just in comparison to their fellow actors. Though, overall, all actors did a great job in portraying the hilarious tale of two cheating couples and their feuding children. The only thing I really struggled with during the show was trying to figure out what time period it took place in. At first, I thought it was set in modern day since the younger couple had on some very current, and very tight undergarments. However, as the show went on I noticed the two looked as if they just came out of an episode of the Brady Bunch. So, was the show set in the 70’s? I may never know.

There was also some very strange scene change music that kinda threw me off. Most of it went really nicely with the show, but then there was a random few seconds of “Adelaide’s Lament” that probably shouldn’t have been there. But, that’s just me nitpicking. The show overall was great, and the older crowd definitely enjoyed it! (I forgot to add that I was probably the only person under 40 in the building….maybe the only person under 60). 

Following the show, the cast members, along with other Newport Playhouse employees, put on a late night cabaret. Being a singer that does a lot of cabarets myself, I was excited to see what they had to offer. Little did I know, I’d be in for another long hour of over choreographed renditions of “All That Jazz,” ancient  showtunes, and an uncomfortable amount of Viagra jokes.

Let’s just say, I wish the night had ended at “Cheaters.” I have never heard a weaker ensemble of musical theater singers. No one could hold harmonies and it was a bit painful to listen to at times. Now, call me a theater snob, but I HATE dinner theater and the cheesy jokes that go with it, and that’s completely what this was. The saving grace of the show was Cindy Killavey singing “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park.” It was pure genius. Though I was disappointed, the older crowd seemed to be loving the cheesy jokes and musical numbers. Maybe because all of the songs they sang were at least 20-30 years old…

Though the cabaret was a miss, the dinner and the show were definitely hits. I would totally recommend checking out the Newport Playhouse if you’re looking for a fun and affordable night out in the Rhode Island area.