By Cari Lynn Pace
Ross Valley Players has reopened their stage at the Barn with their first live production
since the start of the pandemic, and it’s a delightful welcome indeed.
“Ripcord” is a female odd couple pairing with a sharper edge. David Lindsay-Abaire’s
comedy showcases the talents of Tori Truss (Abby) and Pamela Hollings (Marilyn) as
two seniors who share a room in a retirement community. The yin and yang between
these two characters is a delight to watch, with snide facial gestures of Truss pitted
against fluttery friendliness of Hollings.
Director Chloe Bronzan notes “The pandemic forced many into quarantine with a
roommate we would have preferred to spend less time with…we are left pondering our
basic need for human interaction.”
The interaction in “Ripcord” is hilarious. Cranky Abby wants the room to herself, and
does her darndest to get cheerful Marilyn to request a room transfer. Marilyn is
undaunted, and considers Abby’s nastiness a challenge to win over. Besides, Marilyn
loves the view and light from the room they share.
The women make a bet to settle their differences to decide who moves out. Enthusiastic
and positive-thinking Marilyn believes she can find a way to make the stony Abby
fearful. Abby is confident she’ll find something to make the effervescent Marilyn angry.
Abby and Marilyn try practical jokes – funny at first – which elevate to vicious one-
upmanship. “Ripcord” reveals their schemes through amusing sub-plots, including a
haunted house and a sky-diving snatch, lending the parachute release to the play’s name.
What on earth, or in the air, will these gals do next?
RVP Newcomer Bau Tran (Scotty) brings the perfect dash of spice and sensibility to the
mix as the retirement home’s staff member struggling mightily to bring reasonableness to
the women’s battle. He loses this one, but it’s an amusing effort.
Act II is more emotional, as a hidden past helps put Abby’s negativity into perspective.
This sideways subplot, well acted by Truss with Nate Currier as her son, brings the
comedy to a halt. But the bet’s still on between these two. The play’s resolution is
likewise less than comedic, yet satisfying to the opening night audience who commented
“That was fun!” as they departed.
A batch of supporting bits, with costumes by Michael A. Berg, keep popping up as
played by Peter Warden and Rebekah Kouy-Ghadosh, with Currier adding his energies as
well. They lend an over-the-top chaos to the madcap schemes.
RVP spent their time and budget to make this welcome back production of “Ripcord”
worth the trip. Tom O’Brien’s colorful stage set of the senior’s apartment upholds RVP’s
award-winning reputation, and the lobby has been redone in red carpet grandeur. Be sure
to take a look at the decades of framed show posters celebrating RVP’s 90 years of
productions, many which were hand-painted.
“Ripcord” runs through Oct. 10 on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at
8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. at The Barn Theatre above the Marin Art and Garden Center,
30 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Ross. Tickets online a rossvalleyplayers.com or call 415-456-9555, ext. 3.