Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Buried Child"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

Reviews of Current Productions

note: entire contents copyright 2007 by Beverly Creasey

Nora Theatre Delivers
Gripping Shepard

By Beverly Creasey

The Nora Theatre’s taut production of Sam Shepard’s Pulitzer Prize winning play, BURIED CHILD, is running through May 6 at the Boston Playwrights Theatre. Don’t miss the chance to see vintage Shepard in a chilling and surprisingly funny production directed by Daniel Gidron. Shepard takes on truth, justice and the American way with BURIED CHILD, swatting at traditional values, out there in the country’s seemingly placid, Norman Rockwell-etched heartland.

Shepard rains down a storm of mythic proportions on a small Illinois town, revealing secrets and hypocrisy in a family of good, “God fearing” Christians. BURIED CHILD is a homecoming play where the chickens finally come home to roost and no one escapes the recriminations.

Brynna Bloomfield’s ingenious set makes the tiny Playwrights Theatre look positively huge, with its simple farmhouse sitting room and adjacent kitchen. You can just imagine the corn waving in the wind outside. Mark Peckham gives a tour de force performance as the troubled son who comes back home because he doesn’t know where else to go. Peckham makes him menacing and helpless at the same time with his vacant stare and halting memory. William Young plays his father as a charming curmudgeon for most of the play---until the creepy end. Given Nancy Carroll’s monster of a mother from the get-go, it’s no wonder we side with her husband and son.

Will McGarrahan, too, plays a nasty character to the hilt, bullying his father and brother and caving like a coward when his mother shows up. Cristina Miles is every inch the “spitfire” grandpa calls her, holding her own against the tyrants. Dale Place slinks about as the sniveling minister “out of his depth” when the revelations begin and Matthew Shawlin gives as good as he gets as the grandson who “chases his own reflection” and is fated to inherit this hellish legacy.

"Buried Child" (19 April - 6 May)
1 (617) 482-3279

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide