Last of the Red Hot Lovers Faces A Mid-Life Crisis at NTC

Susan Stein, Molly McCarthy, Ron Dailey and Susan Gundunas in Last of the Red Hot Lovers at NTC

The 93-year old Novato Theater Company has just opened its new season with Neil Simon’s Last of the Red Hot Lovers which opened on Broadway on December 28, 1969 and was released as a film in 1972.

Last of the Red Hot Lovers is one of the most amusing of Neil Simon’s comedies. It focuses on Barney Cashman (Ron Dailey), a 47-year old owner of a seafood restaurant who is afraid that the sexual revolution of the 1960’s is passing him by.  Over the space of 9 months, he invites three different women to his mother’s Manhattan apartment in an attempt to have an afternoon of extra-marital sex. None of the affairs are consummated, however, Barney decides, after the last one, that he would prefer a romantic afternoon with his wife Thelma.

Act One is a late afternoon in December when Barney meets Elaine Navazio (Susan Gundunas) who is in her late 30’s, attractive, tough, sexy who likes cigarettes, whiskey and other women’s husbands.  Act Two is a late afternoon in August when Barney meets Bobbi Michele (Molly McCarthy) who is about 27, an actress, pretty and very fresh/cool looking despite oppressive heat outside and at times, mad as a hatter.  Act Three is a late afternoon in September when Barney meets Jeanette Fisher (Susan Stein), about 39 years old, a moralist and singularly the most oppressed woman on the face of the Western hemisphere.  She is the best friend of Barney’s wife Thelma.

Barney’s doing all right for a guy who spent his life running a Manhattan seafood restaurant and raising a family with his dull but decent wife, but now he wants more. He wants to see what sex would be like with another woman. He wants adventure and romance so he sneaks into his mother’s apartment from 3 to 5 p.m. to use it as a love nest.  But Elaine is too cold, Bobbi too crazy and Jeanette too depressed.

Beautifully directed by Jamey Hurwitz with a very talented cast, Last of the Red Hot Lovers is a hot ticket.

The Novato Theater Company is in new surroundings at 32Ten Studios where you sit in loge seats that George Lucas and Company also sat in watching Star Wars and other films.  32Ten Studios is located at 3210 Kerner Blvd., San Rafael.  Last of the Red Hot Lovers runs August 31-September 23, 2012.  Performances are Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. For tickets, call 415-883-4498 or go online at

Coming up next at Novato Theater Company will be Nunsense by Dan Goggin October 18-November 11, 2012.

Flora Lynn Isaacson