The Lyons

Newspaper Review

Chris Gibson – Broadway World, August 29, 2013

Playwright Nicky Silver’s Broadway-break through, The Lyons, is a black comedy that focuses our attention on the titular dysfunctional family. Although it’s characters may be a bit one dimensional at times, this play has a lot of amusing twists and turns, and there are also several moments that occur that we can all identify with for better or worse. Max & Louis Productions has put together a smartly acted and directed presentation that showcases the intimate and humorous nature of this show.

A bitter and angry Ben Lyons lies dying of cancer in a hospital bed. His wife, Rita, already adjusted to the idea of his demise, tries to interest him in a discussion about remodeling the living room. His daughter Lisa, who’s trying to remain clean and sober, shows up and falls off the wagon after undergoing a round of her mother’s scathing analysis. Their son Curtis, who’s homosexual, and a completely unwelcome presence to his father, also arrives.

Bobby Miller (Ben Lyons) was ailing on the day that I attended, so director Wayne Salomon capably filled in as the foul-mouth patriarch of a family that cares very little for one another. Judi Mann is excellent as his acerbic wife, and though you just barely sense her feelings of impending loneliness, you can also see her forging ahead in a determined effort to enjoy what’s left of her own life. Meghan Maguire delivers a fine performance, including some nifty drunk work, as daughter Lisa, and Charlie Barron is sharp as their troubled son Curtis. Julie Layton amuses as the nurse, and Aaron Orion Baker makes an interesting appearance as a realtor named Brian.

Wayne Salomon directs with a sure hand, guiding this excellent cast through a script that requires a deft comic touch. Justin Barisonek’s scenery nicely approximates a hospital room, and it looks authentic under Maureen Berry’s lighting design, while Kevin Reed’s costumes are character appropriate.

Max & Louie Productions has put together an exceptional production of Nicky Silver’s The Lyons, and it continues in the COCA Black Box Theatre through September 1, 2013.