BY David Lindsey-Abaire
Directed by Michael Matthews
La Mirada Theatre for the Preforming Arts
La Mirada, CA
November 1-17, 2013
Directed by Michael Matthews, it lightly blunts the text’s more somber overtones while subtly playing up the humor Lindsay-Abaire expresses through characters as lifelike and realistic as you could want.
Thanks to the finely honed script and the superb work of Matthews’ cast members, Izzy, Nat, Becca and Howie interact much as would any family, their conversations a free-for-all on many criss-crossing subjects.
All five of Matthews’ fine actors wed the play’s lifelike dialogue to a high degree of realism whose hallmark is an apparent sense of spontaneity. And while the play has an unavoidably visceral effect on us, this staging manages to soften the blows.
The production (through November 17), under Michael Matthews’ direction, provides another look at the qualities that made this play so appealing to producers and audiences. The five cast members, led by Deborah Puette as Becca, find the right tone to capture the underlying unpredictability and uncertainty with which Lindsay-Abaire colors his story.
All of this has been pulled into a natural, flowing cohesion by director Michael Matthews, who takes what is essentially a very episodic tale, and aided by Stephen Gifford’s modular, open set, turns it into a single story. And believe it or not, that story ends up not in grim detachment but in what actually happens, usually, in cases like this: the eventual movement back into life – peace, if not yet joy.