Friday, February 3, 2017

The Mother of Invention


Since I enjoyed James Lecesne's last play, The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey, I was glad to see that Abingdon Theatre Company was presenting the world premiere of his latest work. Alas, the new play is not ready for prime time. It’s a grab bag of assorted plot lines: Alzheimer’s, sibling rivalry, paranoia over terrorism, filial obligations, New Age mysticism, sexy Latino as con man, gay fear of intimacy, surprising revelations in a diary, infidelity, euthanasia, gun violence and gratuitous nudity. Apparently the playwright thought that if he threw enough darts at the board, some of them would stick. Through most of the play, the mother Dottie (Concetta Tomei) addresses the other characters, although she is not actually with them. Her two unlikable children, Leanne and David, played by Angela Reed and James Davis, are packing up Dottie’s possessions in preparation to sell her house. Dale Soules (Shows for Days) breathes some life into the play in two roles — the paranoid neighbor and a homeless woman. Dan Domingues plays Frankie Rey, the sexy South American who is either a con man or a mystic or possibly both. Isabella Russo plays Ryder, Leanne’s precocious daughter. The walls of Jo Winiarski’s set are made of packing cartons, which the characters gradually remove as the play moves along, a process that was not fast enough for me. Tony Speciale (Unnatural Acts) directed. Running time: 1 hour 20 minutes; no intermission.

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