By Suzy Williams
So you think your family is weird? Meet the …………….s. (We never do find out what their last name is.) Set in North London in 1965, we come to know a father, his brother, and two grown sons reeling and dealing pugilistically with each other due to the loss of their mother, and just general cussedness. This family war comes to an increasingly absurd height when another – third – son comes back from America with his attractive wife, and all the men, after a period of complete distrust, begin vying for her attentions. This sort of dynamic happens more subtly in most households. You fall in love with somebody and naturally you are curious and inclined to be fond of other members of his or her clan (with a low –grade sexual attraction thrown in – often unbeknownst by any of the participants). But that Harold Pinter! He milks the darker side and muddies it up nice and thick, to show that side of human(un)kind. And somehow Pinter’s wildly absurd exaggeration makes it all the more real. Sordidly real.
It’s a Pacific Resident Theatre production, so of course the casting is excellent, but there are standouts that stay on the mind long after leaving the theater. Jude Ciccolella plays the alternately sentimental and nasty Max, the father, to a capital T. Jason Downs plays Lenny with a macho charisma that is hard to resist liking, though his character’s cruel disregard for everybody is constantly in evidence. For my money the star of the show is Lesley Fera, who plays the fascinatingly discontented Ruth. Ms. Fera is a hotsy-totsy blend of Kathleen Turner, Eve Arden and Anne Bancroft’s great Mrs. Robinson. What a woman!
So hie yourself over to the PRT to feel better about your family and your mind, because then you’ll have seen a top-notch Pinter play production, and be the wiser for it.
By Harold Pinter
Directed by Guillermo Cienfuegos
Pacific Resident Theatre
701 Venice Blvd.
Thursdays through Saturdays, 8pm; Sundays at 3pm.