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Breaking Out of Sunset Place, a comedy authored by Texas playwright Patricia Barry Rumble, runs through February 10 at Queensbury Theatre
a Review by Lynda Guidry
Friday, February 01, 2019

Breaking Out of Sunset PlaceThe world premiere of Breaking Out of Sunset Place, authored by Texas playwright Patricia Barry Rumble, opened last week in Houston. The Pantheon of Women and Roselle Baldwin Productions at Queensbury Theatre launched the thoroughly entertaining comedy centered on the exploits of three elderly women who seemingly have nothing in common except their discontent with the loss of control of their lives while living in a retirement community in Pinewood, TX, a thinly veiled resemblance to Beaumont, TX., where Rumble grew up.

Rumble forgot her opening night jitters as the audience showed immediate engagement with characters everyone could identify with. The crowd was an interesting mix of young and “mature” patrons, recognizing the situation through their own experiences as aging adult, younger family members of aging persons, or those involved the care of the elderly. AARP through their Disrupt Aging campaign is encouraging its membership to see the production. A significant number of the audience on opening night would qualify as AARP members.

This well told story is a tribute to the playwright’s understanding of the characters and the culture they each came from. The premise being that these three bored and aggravated women manage to “break out” of Sunset Place and embark on a journey to fulfill promises and find long-sought resolutions to regrets from their past.

I saw Breaking Out of Sunset Place as far more than a comedic romp or sentimental journey. Perhaps it’s because I share with Rumble and so many natives of this part of Texas, the indelible influence of Louisiana and the Deep South on the heritage of Southeast Texas. The play is layered with the subtle message of nobility in the complex racial and social make up of those cultures.

Breaking Out of Sunset PlaceThe cast portrayed the story beautifully, led by Krissy Richmond as Emmy, Michele Harrell as Maudie and Mary Hooper as Olivia. Brandon Morgan, Jennifer Doctorovich and Joyce Anastasia Murray craftily played multiple characters that the audience loved as well, especially Morgan, who played all seven of the male roles essential to the story.  

The simple, yet clever sets, along with excellent lighting and sound design made for a top-notch theatre experience. Recorded music, most influenced by the Louisiana connection, along with strategic visuals on a large screen in the background moved the story along and set the mood for each scene change. 

Under the direction of Producing Executive Director Marley Singletary audiences are assured of a solid theatre experience.  

“As a director, I am excited to collaborate with Patricia on her new play and to work with this outstanding team. At Queensbury, we believe in the importance of cultivating new work, and we cannot wait to share this hilarious and heartfelt play with Houston audiences,” Singletary said, while welcoming the evening’s audience.

Breaking Out of Sunset PlaceAlthough I point out references to my own take-away from the play, I want to stress that this is a story of universal appeal.  No matter where we’re from or where we are, we all are aging and have some regrets or unfinished business from our past. I appreciate being reminded of our common humanity in such an entertaining manner as Rumble shares her ample skills with humor, language and heart with the world.

The Pantheon of Women and Roselle Baldwin Productions are credited with offering this opportunity to Rumble to bring this work to life.

“I’m thrilled to be part of an all-female producing team and having theatre-veteran Marley Singletary direct only adds to the strength of this world premiere. I look forward to seeing audiences leave their age at the door and experience a hilarious tale of 3 seniors on the run,” said Roselle Baldwin, Managing Producer.  

Queensbury TheatreQueensbury Theatre, located in a splendid new space on the northwest side of Houston, is a 21,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility housing a 250 seat proscenium theater, a blackbox theatre, prop shop and much more. 

Performances are set for February 1,2,3 and 7,8,9,10

Parking is free for all patrons. Purchase tickets at / Box Office:     713.467.4497

12777 Queensbury Lane, Houston, TX 77024

The Grand 1894 Opera House

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