By Judith Oehman
Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 1/22/19 – Pulitzer Prize and Tony winning playwright Tracy Letts takes us in a hilariously biting play.
Did you ever laugh for three hours? Were you somber? Did you leave those hours of laughter with a sudden feeling of wonder? Did you wonder about several new ideas, several situations that you did not realize were directed at you?
If your answer is no, I am sorry. It is an awesome feeling. I was lucky enough to have that experience last night. I was shocked to know that a play about a 50-year old fool could be written and acted with such talent that I would be able to write the words. I laughed for hours.
Tracy Letts’ play Linda Vista is magically funny – three, yes 3 hour play translates sexually epilated passion and nudity into thoughts that provoke you. As you laugh you sense that words will stay with you and force you to comfort boxes in your mind that you have not unpacked relationships that have troubled you.
Linda vista, on occasion, seems to forget it is a play and wander in TV specials areas, graphically going after subjects like midlife sex, (dark room comedy)…. I hate it all, strong political statements and unstable personalities.
Luckily the cast is strong and can move smoothly from one, quick-change subject to another.
Ian Barford, as Wheeler, the mid aged lost soul who has lost hope, his marriage, and all self-respect, peppers you with raised eyebrows and aggregated shoulder movements you like and listen to this compulsive wit. Chatal Thuy and Cora Vander Broek portray the loves in Wheelers life and are “letter perfect”.
Statements like: “I love you but I respect myself” are perfect reasons for us to understand why Wheeler is alone and should be.
The design of a revolving set wins respect for Todd Rosenthal. The costumes and the characters fit in a loose and uneasy way. It all works in that idea, you don’t notice.
The friends, played by Tim Hooper, Sally Murphy Caroline Neff and boss Tory West have the superior skills of making you see the main character from their view and therefore care about him.
In short, it’s wonderful, it’s confusing, it’s creative and profound.
care about him.