by Deanna Jent
Directed by Lori Adams
Featuring Daniel Everidge, Julia Murney, Daniel Pearce
Minetta Lane Theatre, 18 Minetta Lane
October 15, 2012 (opening) — open run
production web site
Reviewed by Martha Wade Steketee
October 17, 2012
- “If Josh is happy, we all are happy.” (Tami)
A devastating and ultimately hopeful depiction of functional family dysfunction — or a family functioning around a dysfunctional member — is taking place in Falling at the Minetta Lane. We’ve seen many versions of these dramas before, and many of us have observed or lived the real-time real-life effects of these dynamics. Daddy drinks or Mommy is depressed or siblings steal and everyone else accommodates in a finely tuned dance of keeping the damaged one calm. From the first brilliant moments of this intermissionless 70 minute drama we are brought into the world of a family handing off to one another (as if passing a basketball down the court), in coded language and practiced routines, the responsibility of dealing with a strong, sometimes aggressive, emotionally challenged late teen-aged family son. We’re hooked.
Daniel Everidge is Josh, the simmering storm, the man-sized child, who holds his family in thrall to his daily routines while exhibiting charming personality traits. Mother Tami (Julia Murney) demonstrates both partnership and a bit of martyrdom (“oh I’ll do it”) in the parenting rhythm she has developed with husband Bill (Daniel Pearce). Teen-aged daughter Lisa (Jacy Powers) is the normal younger sibling of Josh who accommodates at every turn. A visit from grandmother Sue (Celia Howard) disrupts the family’s delicate balance as a loving observer who questions the dealing-with-Josh (and Lisa) decisions Tami and Bill have made. Moment to moment tensions are masterfully evoked in all the performances, especially Everidge’s overweight, labile, and barely contained Josh, and exhausted, loving, and ultimately resolved Murney as his mom. An extended section late in the play allows Tami to explore a world in which Josh might be different, and the power of this sequence and the contribution it makes to the whole (no spoilers from me here) are just stunning.
Falling as metaphor and reality and life lesson. We fall, things fall, things resolve. Struggle and hope. Life. A fabulous piece of theatre.
© Martha Wade Steketee (October 23, 2012)