nowat Napa’s Lucky Penny Community Arts Center through August 18, is his comedictake on the individuals found on both sides of a tasting room bar.
The fictional Lusch (that’s pronounced loosh, notlush) Family Vineyards are struggling to survive, and sisters Rebecca (TaylorBartolucci) and Emily (Danielle DeBow) Lusch are doing their best to keep thedoors open. Assisting them in this endeavor is wine educator Tony Spiccoli(Barry Martin), who’s not above adding some “special flavoring” to a rivalvintner’s wine for comparison tasting.
Rebecca treats every patron as an inconvenience and thatincludes a gentleman named Sid Taylor (Michael Scott Wells). Mr. Taylor, whodoesn’t seem to know much about wine, is about to get the heave-ho when it’srevealed that he’s the advance man for Wine Fanatic magazine and itsimperious wine critic Elbert Fleeman (Michael Ross).
Fleeman and the Luschs seem to have some history, but that’ssecondary to the fact that a good review from him could put the winery back onthe path to solvency. They have just a few hours to prepare and a lot of theirtime is being taken up by a particularly pesky wine tourist (Tim Setzer). How will the tasting go? And just what is theconnection between Fleeman and Grandma Lusch?
Martin takes good-natured shots at just about everyoneinvolved in the industry, from the jaded front-line hospitality staff topretentious blogging connoisseurs. He has the most fun and generates the show’sbiggest laughs with Tim Setzer’s wine tourist from hell. Setzer, who knows hisway around a tasting room, is very funny in the role and plays well off ofMartin’s wine selling huckster.
Bartolucci earns laughs as well as the sister who’s nevermet a mimosa she didn’t like. DeBow’s Emily is there to conveniently fall forthe advance man and give the show a bit of a secondary plot, but Martin isasking his audience to swallow a lot that Fleeman would hire someone as un-wine-worldlyas Sid to work for him.
The Tasting Room doesn’t aspire to be much more thana live sitcom for locals – there’s nothing wrong with that – and at that levelit succeeds.
’The Tasting Room’ plays through August 18 at the Lucky PennyCommunity Arts Center in Napa. The Thursday performance is at 7pm; Friday and Saturdayevening performances are at 8pm, and the Sunday matinee is at 2pm.
For more information, go to luckypennynapa.com