Home > Carol Davis, Theatre > Daren Scott just right in ‘The 7 Year Itch’ at New Village Arts

Daren Scott just right in ‘The 7 Year Itch’ at New Village Arts

Daren Scott and Jacque Wilke in 'The 7-Year Itch' Photo: Adam Brock

By Carol Davis

Carol Davis

CARLSBAD, California —It’s not unusual to credit Daren Scott with the great photos seen in so many of my reviews. He’s one busy guy with a camera strapped over his shoulder, seen around town at so may theatre companies, clicking away and arranging groups for theatre memories. Lest we forget though, he’s also one heck of an actor.

Scott is starring in, is in every scene and carries the show, The 7 Year Itch , from beginning to end  in a solid production at New Village Arts Theatre in Carlsbad. His timing is impeccable, his look is refreshing and his facial expressions are timeless.

George Axelrod’s three act play The 7 Year Itch that opened on Broadway in 1952 is probably best known for the film version (1955) starring Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell, directed by Billy Wilder. It’s the one with the famous shot of Monroe standing over the subway grate with her dress blowing above her knees from a passing train. (It has been said that that was the last straw in their marriage for hubby Joe DiMaggio).

Richard Sherman (Daren Scott) sends his wife of seven years, Helen (Melissa Fernandes) and their son Ricky (Jonah Gercke) on vacation to Maine (they live in NY) to escape a suffocating heat wave. While relaxing, listening to the ball game and proofreading a book by Dr. Brubaker (Eddie Yaroch) on his patio, a huge tomato plant falls from an upper floor balcony and nearly hits him on the head.

It turns out the apartment is being rented by The Girl (Jacque Wilke) in the apartment just above him. We learn that she is a model in town about to make a television commercial. On one of her jobs she posed nude in a specialty magazine.  Richard, a magazine editor just happens to have that edition on his bookshelves. Yes he did check it out.

Two things happen that turn Richard on his head. Based on some findings in the good Dr’s book that after seven years men get a yen to look for excitement outside the marriage (The 7 Year Itch) Richard’s imagination turns 180 degrees. His subconscious takes him places never before gone and The Girl upstairs, who comes down to rescue her plants, is interested in having an affair but not marriage or a commitment. She’s sexy looking, ditsy and carefree. Sounds like a perfect deal for Richard’s dalliances.

He is 38 she is 22.  He has fantasies that he is irresistible conjuring up all kinds of situations to bed this gal while a trio of muses, (Kelly Iverson, Frances Regal and Lisa Dempsey) some of the other women in his life like his secretary reprimand and act as his conscience. To justify his wandering mind he fantasizes that his wife is having an affair with their neighbor Tom (John De Carlo). She pooh pooh’s his claim laughing her way in and out of his dreams.

While all this is playing out in his head, we are privy to see what he’s thinking and that’s where the fun comes in. The problem Richard has is that in his imaginary conquests he is suave and smooth. In real life, he’s a klutz. The transitions from real to imaginary aided by Jason Bieber’s lighting, keeps the play afloat and Scott is the perfect candidate for all this fun.

Locked in the time warp of the 50’s The 7 Year Itch is no doubt dated but let’s not get confused. It might have been groundbreaking news in the 50’s but our appetites for scandal doesn’t exclude extra marital affairs and all the sensation that goes along with them on our 24 hour news cycle. 

That said director Amanda Sitton, associate artist at NVA isn’t far off the mark by concentrating more on the fun side than the morality side. Everyone can leave drawing his or her own conclusions about the goings on in the male libido. This reviewer, for one, doesn’t have the patience for that and thoroughly enjoyed watching Scott squirm and worm his way out of a predicament conjured up in his own mind.

Scott is the perfect foil for this show. He’s funny, engaging and just fits the bill as the poor lonesome bachelor facing a mid life crisis. Melissa Fernandes is a strong presence in both the dream sequences and in the moment. Once again, her timing and body language fit the mood of the play and she sails through as Helen. Eddie Yaroch is great as the fussy and flummoxed doctor and John De Carlo’s is a hoot as the might be cheatin’ neighbor.

Jacque Wilke a fine actor in her own right is ditsy enough as The Girl, she just didn’t convince. Her voice is too high pitched for clarity. I found myself straining to understand half of what she said.

Tim Wallace’s three level set works well on the long NVA stage and Susan Kerner’s cloths for the characters are period right, if I recall. Adam Brick’s baseball tidbits are fun.

Sitton (a talented actor in her own right) and company should have a ball with this light summer fare through August.

Congrats to NVA on their 10th birthday.

See you at the theatre.

Dates: July 29th-Aug.22nd

Organization: New Village Arts Theatre

Phone: 760-433-3245

Production Type: Comedy

Where: 2787 State Street, Carlsbad, Ca 92008

Ticket Prices: $25.00-$30.00

Web: newvillagearts.org

Theatre critic Davis is based in San Diego

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