BWW Review: AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY Darkly Delivers Laughs at The City Theatre in Austin, TX
Few modern plays have experienced the immediate love and adoration Tracy Letts garnished from her 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning dark comedy, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY. Originally premiering at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago close to a decade ago, the story of the dysfunctional Weston family has traveled beyond the mid-western plains they call home. After secluding themselves inside their home to nurse a nasty pill and alcohol addiction, Beverly Weston, the family patriarch, goes missing for five days. The family's desperate search brings the Westons and their skeletons together again. Violet Weston, Beverly's wife, displays her intense pill dependency and cruel disposition while her daughters try to piece together where their father may be. As the story develops, the mystery of Beverly's whereabouts are brought to light, while simultaneously highlighting the disturbing reality of the Weston's existence. AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY examines the portrait people present of a modern family and tests the boundaries of sympathy.
In the City Theatre Company's rendition of this new American classic play, the staging, design, and acting are executed perfectly within their intimate space. Andy Berkovsky (Director/Artistic Director of The City Theatre) sets the stage beautifully through seamless transitions between the action and the picturesque placing of actors. Working with essentially five different locations on The City's intimate stage, the transitions elevated the shows drama, making these darkly humorous moments hit even harder.
The casting of actors worked extremely well onstage, presenting the uncomfortable themes in a natural and realistic way. The strength of this collection of players, combined with the premise, worked exceptionally to deliver the image of a broken family. The sex starved, pill-popping housewife, Violet Weston (played by Robyn Gammill) was cruel and hilarious. Violet's interactions with her stressed daughter Barbara Weston (played by Robyn Conner) are the heart of the show. Gammill's cruelty and portrayal of addiction, made Conner's honest reactions quite comical. Their chemistry added immensely to the dark yet comedic themes built into the foundation of the Weston's home. The interactions between all cast members were highly entertaining and filled the heated story-line with twists and turns the audience does not see coming.
Now playing at The City Theatre through August 21st, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY delivers the highs and lows of a dysfunctional family navigating a crisis. With the casting emphasis on strong female characters, the women on stage deliver the comedy of this piece in addition to adding truth to the heart-breaking realities a family faces in hard times. The honest look The City Theatre delivers on this modern American classic is admirable and extraordinarily entertaining. The show runs a little over three hours through three acts and is highly recommend for adults looking for a no-holds-barred glimpse into an American family.
AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY
July 21 - August 13. Thursday - Saturday 8:00 pm. Sunday 3:00 pm.
The City Theatre 3823 Airport Blvd. Austin 78722.
General Seating $15. Front/2nd Row Reserved $20-25. Thursday all seats $10. Tickets at the door $20. Group and student discounts.
Photo Credit: The City Theatre