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A CurtainUp Review
Eight months later the bereaved parents are coping through contradictions. Becca wants to sell the house but refuses to throw out any of Danny's toys. She's cut off sex with Howie, afraid that he's trying to "replace" Danny. She's furious at friends who treat Danny as heaven's reclaimed angel. When he's not visiting a support group, horny Howie's supposedly been seen with another woman. At the same time Becca's wild sister has settled into her own pregnancy, an opportunity for their mother Nat to offer her advice on how death doesn't diminish life and why the Kennedys are cursed.
Then Lindsay-Abaire is bold enough to introduce the fourth casualty, Jason, the kid whose car killed Danny. He's dedicated a sci-fi story to Danny that depicts a "rabbit hole," more exactly a worm hole in the universe where parallel worlds provide infinite possibilities that don't require Danny's death. Hokey as that consolation seems, it works for Becca where religious fantasies did not.
It's not easy for well-disposed playwrights to depict decent folks under distress without trying to throw them lifelines that real life won't provide. Here what's not said counts as much as the recriminations over who let Danny die or who misses him most. Scott's staging takes us into this house, letting the stage picture of a little boy's room being slowly emptied of his toys, his little legacy, speak for itself. We see these angry, confused, reluctant survivors from all sides.
Most wrenching is Lia Mortensen's Becca, almost exasperating in her ambivalence before this non-negotiable loss. Her description of how everything in the grocery store reminds her of Danny tells how hard it is to move on after death. Daniel Cantor's Howie registers remorse differently, as a well-intentioned series of hapless interventions. A life force in a haunted house, Amy Warren's spunky Izzy offers balance to her sister's diminishing returns. Finally, as Danny's unintended executioner, Jurgen Hooper manages to deliver decency where we least expect—and most need—to find it.
Editor's Note: To read our review of the New York premiere go here
Easy-on-the budget super gift for yourself and your musical loving friends. Tons of gorgeous pictures.
Leonard Maltin's 2007 Movie Guide
At This Theater
Leonard Maltin's 2005 Movie Guide