Review by AARON KOZAKJune 21, 2012
My overall impression
Loved it. Superb script. Great acting. The lead actor, even with a few accent slips, really nailed the journey of a character with so many dimensions. His dual objective to do the right thing and also lay his checkered past to rest are both such rich motives, but they also conflict with each other as well…is it really doing the right thing if he does it to redeem himself? Such a fantastic internal struggle, which very much resonated with me and really layered the character. His wife was played by a sassy blonde actress, who stole the show with her picture perfect comic timing, even through the meatiest of dramatic moments. The whole ensemble should be commended for their truthful portrayal of these great characters.
I could see how some would find this play too dark and controversial, but there is something to be said about writing something important. Bullying and sexual abuse are two hot topics right now, and I don’t mean it in the exploitative sense, but rather they’re currently major issues in the mainstream. I particularly thought a great moment was when the bar owner said “we all abandoned him.” I would be surprised to find anyone who didn’t turn a blind eye to bullying at some point during their youth. Perhaps not a major incident, but at least some moment where the courage could not be mustered to do the right thing. This play, with a simple and raw story, never runs from the truth. It never redeems the protagonist, but rather shows all sides, good and bad, which is what made his quest for redemption so much richer.
I personally would have ended the play differently, but this is not a play I would know how to write. Sarah Doyle is a truly honest and gifted playwright, and has given me my first big surprise of this year’s festival. This is a must see.