A Room of My Own
by Charles Messina
Abingdon Theatre Company
What the play mainly becomes, in the hands of Mr. Cantone and the very fine Ms. Tribuzio, is a brother-sister story of ferocious devotion. Jackie is a gay man in a virulently homophobic age, and Dotty will hear no one speak a word against him. Dotty is a scheming, unrepentant liar, and Jackie loves her anyway.
Among the many eye rolls, the strained neck muscles, the foul mouths, and the hammered vocal cords, you might mistake Joli Tribuzio for Mario Cantone in drag in the opening moments of “A Room of My Own,” which opened Thursday at Off Broadway’s Abingdon Theatre.
Cantone headlines the new play by Charles Messina, so you’re expecting him as soon as the curtain goes up. Cantone shows up much later in the role of Tribuzio’s brother, playing Jackie to her Dotty. In film and theater, there’s often a necessary suspension of disbelief when it comes to accepting two actors as blood relatives. Tribuzio and Cantone don’t require it — not for a second — and better yet, her Dotty is one of those great monster mothers who pop up in the theater from time to time. Amanda Wingfield, Mama Rose, and Violet Weston can welcome Dotty Morelli to their club.
The performers are all wonderful—especially the riotous Joli Tribuzio as Dotty—a garrulous harridan with the flattest New York accent since Thelma Ritter.
Tribuzio is excellent as Dotty, always ready with a cutting remark, angry glance, stream of cuss words, or bearing her soul to someone she hasn't seen in years, as the situation requires. Her performance is also definitely one to remember when awards are being handed out.
Joli Tribuzio plays the overly emotional Dotty Morelli with exceptional skill. Just when you think she’s all fire, she gives us a tender moment where we understand what she’s fighting for. We feel everything she feels, and she feels a lot, and that deserves our accolades
-Theater That Matters
Joli Tribuzio (Dotty) is marvelous. She inhabits this role with nerve-fraying surety. Every tone, gesture, and crack feels natural. Impatience is infectious, fury palpable; plotting darkly credible
-Woman Around Town
Joli Tribuzio excellently combines coarseness, determination, and sensitivity as Dotty
Tribuzio is perfect as the fiery redheaded Italian mama and delivers dialogue like a New York grown truck driver.