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Entree: comedy Chef: Woody

Allen's Cold War comedy Don't Drink the Water will be presented by the Gulf Islands Civic Theater at Andre's Restaurant.


© St. Petersburg Times, published April 27, 2001

Fans of Woody Allen's comedy should enjoy the hilarious writing in one of his earlier works, the 1966 play Don't Drink the Water.

Even though the Iron Curtain has long since been rolled up, and the Cold War isn't what it used to be, the plot of Don't Drink the Water still shines with Allen's satire and wit.

The play centers around the Hollander family. Originally from Newark, N.J., they take a break from their suffering catering business to enjoy a vacation in Eastern Europe in the early 1960s.

They get in trouble after Walter Hollander (John McLaughlin) takes a photo of a gorgeous sunset. It also includes part of a secret military installation. This brings trouble because the authorities accuse the Hollanders of spying.

The family is forced to hide in an American embassy, unfortunately in the hands of the ambassador's incompetent son Axel Magee (Tom Noon). He's been booted out of several countries.

But as the play progresses, he helps the family plot an escape and even finds time to fall in love.

Don't Drink the Water made its debut on Broadway in 1966, it was remade into a television movie, directed by and starring Allen, along with Michael J. Fox, in 1994.

The Gulf Islands cast includes Ambassador Magee (Mark Unger); Father Drobney (Jerry Rust); Mr. Kilroy (Phil Isasi); Krojack (Dick Porter); Marion Hollander (Annie DeLeo); Susan Hollander (Regina Ballard); Chef (Fran Barg); Sultan (Andrew Kennedy); Mrs. Burns (Chassie Kennedy); Countess (Robin McLaughlin); and Guard (Stephen Troiano). Joyce Reynolds-Funtig is the director.

At a glance

Don't Drink the Water, an early comedy by Woody Allen, presented by Gulf Islands Civic Theater as dinner theater at Andre's Restaurant, Citrus Hills. Opens today and runs for two weekends. Seating begins at 4:30 p.m., dinner is at 5 and show at 6:15 for Friday and Saturday performances. Sunday matinee and the last performance May 6 begin with 1 p.m. seating, meal at 1:30 and show at 2:45. Dinner choices include sirloin, chicken marsala and lemon pepper scrod. Reservations are $27, including tax and gratuity. A cash bar is available. Major credit cards are accepted. Call Andre's at 746-6855.

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