As one might expect it’s very difficult to perform a two-person show, and Ross Mumford and Bill Bossman in “Visiting Mr. Green,” pull it off superbly well. The duo never miss a beat of timing, and the storyline flows nicely with a simple set and dialogue that drives the plot along. Directed by Kevin Colbert, entire play takes place in a New York apartment with modern yet dated furnishings.
South Dakota native Bill Bossman has been in productions of “Native Gardens,” and “Death by Design,” but his portrayal of the Jewish elderly Mr. Green iscaptivating to watch. From his voice inflections down to his bumbling mannerisms, Bossman epitomizes the character and everything that encompasses Mr.Green’s philosophy in life. The role demands perfecting a Russian-Yiddish accent and convincing the audience he is old and on the verge of ailing.Mr. Bossman does both remarkably well.
Mr. Green is a curmudgeon 86-year-old man who likes living in solace with no one disturbing him after his wife has passed. He lives a quiet life and keeps a kosher home. Ross Gardiner bumps into him by chance after nearly hitting him with his car and has been sentenced to six months of community service. An unlikely friendship develops when the two start to spend time together and discover past history and commonalities, and Mr. Green and Ross bond over what they share with their religious upbringings. Ross in turn helps Mr. Green with a personal matter that has caused great distance for him and resentment.
Ross Mumford as Ross plays a closeted business executive wanting to be accepted by his family and the culture he comes from that is so adamantly against his ideologies and way of life. He brings an impressionistic and exceptionally humanistic view to the issues that are relevant today. Mumford finesses the character gingerly with ample charm and appeal. He touches on the highs and lows of his character arc and development, and we feel the anguish and vulnerability he feels in hiding a part of his true self.
The juxtaposition between LGBTQA identity and prejudice against the Jewish culture in “Visiting Mr. Green,” is remarkable and cleverly tied in. Mature topics make you reflect and truly see a different viewpoint, especially from a marginalized perspective.
When seeing this production, you’ll hopefully gain a fresh perspective as well as empathy for the struggles people face in a world full of complexities. “Visiting Mr. Green,” runs through May 15th.