Theresa Rebeck’s old-fashioned American melodrama has been described as a blistering dark comedy about death and madness.
Set in rural Pennsylvania, this dysfunctional family saga was written specifically for David Harbor and Bill Pullman.
At first I thought we might be in Sam Shepard Gothic Country and all the wildness that goes with it. wishful thinking on my part.
Pullman plays a mean, grumpy old dad who likes whiskey, whores, and takes pleasure in pissing off his family. He is dying and is being cared for by his eldest son.
Harbor plays the eldest son who was recently released from the hospital where he was being held due to his mental health issues. Harbor has the more likable role.
Dad also has a professional carer. His daughter and younger son can’t wait to get their hands on his money which is worth the value of his home and estate.
Papa stays offstage for far too long in the awkward second act, and not all the actors are as well cast as the two leads. But then their roles are not so well written.
Directed by Moritz von Stulpnagel. There is too much screaming and yelling. There is still a lot of work to be done on the piece. I felt like I was watching work in progress. The production ends with a power outage so abrupt that no one was sure the play was over.
On the night I saw the piece, a claque was very audible. Claque members need more practice in subtlety and should be discouraged from responding openly to dialogue before it is fully delivered.
Robert Tanitch reviews Theresa Rebeck’s Mad House at the Ambassadors Theatre, London
Source link Robert Tanitch reviews Theresa Rebeck’s Mad House at the Ambassadors Theatre, London