True West Review REVIEWS

Opening Night:
Closing:
Open Ended

Theater:

Synopsis: 

If the charismatic Hawke all but wipes the floor with Dano in the play’s first half, Dano gets his turn to act out in Act Two. These are showcase roles, and the actors play them with gusto. James Macdonald’s Roundabout Theatre Company production occasionally errs on the side of the obvious: Marylouise Burke brings her customary off-kilter comic panache to her cameo as the brothers’ late-returning mom, but Gary Wilmes smears an extra layer of grease on the already oleaginous role of a Hollywood producer, and a showy change of lighting undermines Austin’s big story about how his dissolute father lost two pairs of teeth. But if some aspects of True West seem too neatly schematic, Shepard’s dissection of authenticity and masculinity resounds in new ways in the current American political landscape. There is a lot of humor built into the conflict between the amoral, desperate, confidently doltish Lee and the exasperated, ineffectual Austin, but there is horror, too, as the play’s red and blue factions bleed into each other, yielding the purple of an unhealed bruise.

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