Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Trip to Bountiful"

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note: entire contents copyright 2010 by Beverly Creasey

Worth The Trip

Reviewed by Beverly Creasey

Detractors say nothing happens in Horton Foote’s plays but admirers (me at the head of the line) know his gentle stories embrace those personal dramas which make up a life. After all, as the saying goes, life should no t be measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away.

Wellesley Summer Theatre’s lovely production of Horton Foote’s THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL (playing through June 27th) showcases the kind of breathtaking performance you need to make Foote’s eloquent words resonate. What a pleasure to watch Lisa Foley: sleeping, waking, humming her defiance and resolving her intentions.

Geraldine Page (in Peter Masterson’s gorgeous film) brought a touch of mental and physical frailty to her Oscar winning performance but director Nora Hussey doesn’t take that route to Bountiful. Foley’s Carrie possesses inner strength and an almost beatific sense of mission so that when John Davin as the Sheriff recognizes it, we breathe easier, knowing at last she is understood. Davin gives a luminous performance as her knight in shiny badge. Hussey gets wonderful performances, too, from Derek Stone Nelson as the depressed son and from Lily Saffer as Carrie’s kindly traveling companion.

My only cavil is that Hussey envisions a daughter-in-law with no shades of grey, a small concern, balanced against a truly bountiful production---and a terrible chilling unintended relevance in Foote’s loving references to the beauty and “strength that comes from the Gulf,” which now is confronting devastation.

"The Trip to Bountiful" (3 - 27 June)
@ Schneider Hall, 106 Central Street, WELLESLEY MA

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide