Sunday, January 9, 2011
Blood from a Stone ***
This over-the-top blue-collar family drama with comic flashes, now at the Acorn Theater in a New Group production, has already extended its run before it even opens. The box-office draw is probably Ethan Hawke as the damaged elder son Travis, a former war hero who returns to his small-town Connecticut home before Christmas to try to sort out some family problems before taking off for the West Coast. His character is the glue that holds the play together: he has a scene alone with each of the other characters. The excellent cast includes Gordon Clapp and Ann Dowd as parents who are locked in constant combat, Thomas Guiry as the younger brother who is a gambler and chronic liar, Natasha Lyonne as the sister who has struggled with some success to escape the toxic pull of her family, and Daphne Rubin-Vega as the sexy married neighbor whom Travis beds whenever he is in town. Tommy Nohilly is an actor turned playwright and the juicy roles he has written here give each actor a chance to shine. Director Scott Elliott is in good form as usual. Derek McLane's set of a house in disrepair appropriately mirrors the play's chaos. There really isn't anything new or revelatory, some of the scenes run a bit long, some of the motivation is a bit unclear, but the play is full of energy and very well acted. I overcame my initial lack of interest in these characters and eventually got caught up in the action. I"m not sure you'll like it, but I doubt that you'll be bored.