King’s Town Players presents Sylvia, the story of a middle-aged couple adjusting to life with a dog

A marriage doesn’t usually breakdown over a pet. But King’s Town Players’ delightful rendition of Sylvia shows how a stray dog “chews a hole in a 22-year-old marriage.”

The modern day romance explores the challenges faced by Greg and Kate, a middle-aged couple trying to adjust to life without children. Kate is less than impressed when her husband brings Sylvia, a stray dog, to their New York City apartment. Things deteriorate further when Greg becomes so preoccupied with Sylvia he begins to ignore both his job and his wife.

The play relies on stellar acting from the entire cast. Walt Freeman and Michelle Freedman deliver sincere and realistic performances as Greg and Kate.

In the title role, Krista Garrett is spot-on as a dog. She transforms into her canine character using a shaggy fur coat and a dog collar. Garrett brings the right amount of sassiness and spark while conversing with the humans to make Sylvia not just a prop, but a major contribution to the production.

Rounding out the play is a very welcome performance from Jennifer Atkinson-Spencer, playing three supporting characters with memorable stage presence.

The intimate Kingston Yacht Club is a fitting venue for the storyline. The company uses minimal set design, effectively creating a modern downtown apartment. Sylvia’s sass is sure to garner laughs from dog and cat owners alike. Throughout the play she professes her undying love for Greg, intense disdain for cats and extreme contempt when she’s spayed.

Though heart-warming and sweet, there are instances of hilarious profanity that prevent the play from being too sappy. A scene where the dog is in heat particularly stands out. Despite directing a play about canine love, Will Britton isn’t a dog lover. In the program he explains that he chose to direct Sylvia because it’s about “relationships and identification and fulfillment.” Though the play may not resonate with students as much as it would with their parents, the play is charming and worth it for the performances alone.

Sylvia plays at the Kingston Yacht Club until Saturday and from Jan. 17 to 21 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $17 for students and seniors.

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