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The dark comedy is both hilarious & heart breaking with a cast at the top of their game

By Amanda Christine, The OnStage Critics Circle


Dysfunctional doesn't begin to describe The Lyons. But the humor is abundant in the masterful production running right now at Theatreworks New Milford. The dark comedy is at times both hilarious and heart breaking with a cast at the top of their game.

As Ben Lyons lies dying, his wife of forty years, Rita, flips through decorating magazines, planning a living room make-over. "I know you won't actually be there to enjoy it, but I'd like to think you'd like it." It's clear Ben and Rita have been at war for many years, and that Ben's impending demise has brought no relief. When they're joined by their children, Lisa and Curtis, all efforts at a pleasant visit or a sentimental goodbye to the dying patriarch are soon abandoned. Terrible secrets and vicious accusations replace sentimental memories.

For this production director Matt Austin has assembled a superb cast. As Rita, Jody Bayer delivers a powerhouse performance. She is a marvel to watch. Her final speech might be one the my highlights of the year. Bill Hughes also delivers a strong performance as the dying, Ben. He and Bayer have some wonderful moments together. Joe Russo gives a wonderfully wounded performance as Curtis and Courtney Lauria's portrayal of Lisa is nuanced and wistful. Only adding to the "fun" is Theatreworks regular James Hipp and new comer, Beth Young as a fabulous no-nonsense nurse.

Matt Austin has done a pitch perfect job with his direction. The scenic design from Austin and Hughes is creative and well spaced. And Lighting Design from Richard Pettibone, Scott Wyshynski, has never been better.

As the lead off for Theatreworks' 2015 season, this certainly sets the tone very well for what's to come in New Milford. I highly recommend this.

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