Off Broadway (and sometimes Broadway) Reviews and Information.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Sweetly Navigating The Roads To Home

It is a clich̩ to say that home is a memory, but in Primary Stages revival of The Roads To Home by Horton Foote, it is the guiding principal. Beautifully brought to life by three outstanding women Рthe men are very good, but given much less to do Рthe play speaks of a longing of the memory of home, regardless of the reality.
Perhaps this show touched me because I am from Los Angeles, and the memory of home always makes me smile – more that actually moving back ever would. The Roads To Home takes that wistful feeling and enlarges it to a universal experience. The theme brings a smile and wonder to this melodramatic show.
Harriet Harris, Hallie Foote, Rebecca Brooksher - in The Roads To Home
Hallie Foote, the playwright’s daughter, plays Mabel a mainly contented housewife in 1920s era Houston. The play opens with Mabel’s neighbor Vonnie dropping in and describing telling her vacation to her own family in Louisiana. Harriet Harris inhabits the character of Vonnie spectacularly. To watch these two older ladies visit and gossip is as comforting as watching your grandmother and her friends. It is a pleasant pace of gossip, neighbor chitchat and reminisces of hometowns. Mabel does explain that one neighbor from her old hometown, Annie, has begun to ride the streetcar and visit her daily. Too often for her husband, who is annoyed to find Annie occupying his home nearly every night. Mabel fills in the backstory of Annie which includes the tragic witnessing of her father being shot on main street.

Annie does eventually arrive and she is a bit eccentric. Rebecca Brookshire plays Annie with just enough edge to make her occasionally unnerving and with just enough sweetness to make us care about her. Annie is a gentle soul, lost in Houston and her own memory.

All three women later have issues with their husbands and their own marriages – their personal homes. The time didn’t allow for a lot of options for women in difficult marriages, and watching these three women try to navigate their personal life is both engaging and a bit heartbreaking.

The Roads To Home is a short piece, and played out leisurely, given full time to take root in the audience. I enjoyed it, even though I was a bit annoyed at the end while I watched it. In retrospect, I appreciate it much more. The scenic design by Jeff Cowie and the costume design by David Woolard really brought the era to life. Michael Wilson did an excellent job with the direction and pace of the piece. This is part of the Horton Foote Centennial (he was born in 1916) and is a great addition to his cannon.
The Roads to Home | Playwright: Horton Foote | Director: Michael Wilson | Cast: Devon Abner, Dan Bittner, Rebecca Brooksher, Harriet Harris, Hallie Foote, Mall Sullivan

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