The house lights darken, and the stage illuminates a typical American family of four lounging on sofas after a morning playing tennis at the country club. Reunited for the Christmas holidays, the Wyeth family teases one another and playfully reminisces of when daughter, Brook Wyeth (Laura Toner), and son,Trip Wyeth (Jacob Trussell) still lived at home with parents Lyman Wyeth (Rick Roemer) and Polly Wyeth (Babs George).Other Desert Cities has opened on an optimistic note.
However, minutes into the play, Brooke makes a cutting retort in her mother’s direction, which foreshadows a deeply buried secret. It’s a well-known fact in theatre that if there’s a gun on stage in Act 1 then you can expect it to be fired by Act 2. Following suit, the secret quickly comes to light, and the audience is pulled into the drama of the play.
Emotions ran high throughout the play, and each scene required commitment from all the actors. The entire cast commanded strong performances, and the family chemistry between the actors was palpable; the audience easily empathized with familiar experiences of family conflict.
Despite themes of betrayal, mental illness, and political unrest, Other Desert Cities is chalk-full of biting humour and entertaining characters. Especially impressive were Babs George’s and her stage-sister Bernadette Nason as Aunt Silda. The sisters’ were business partners as movie writers in Hollywood until their falling out and Silda’s subsequent alcoholism. Polly becomes Silda’s caretaker during her recovery, which lends itself to hysterical interchanges between the characters.
Other Desert Cities will run through February 24, 2013. It makes the perfect night out for adult audiences craving quality stage performance. Austin Playhouse will continue the 2012-2013 season at Highland Mall while the construction of their new building is underway. To learn more about Austin Playhouse and purchase tickets for Other Desert Cities, please visit here.
WHEN: Friday, January 25 to Sunday, February 24, 2013 at 8 p.m (Sunday performance at 5 p.m)
Austin Playhouse at Highland Mall
6001 Airport Blvd.
Austin, TX 78752
TICKETS: Please click here to purchase tickets
DISCOUNTS: Student tickets are half-price.