Review: APPROPRIATE at Princeton Summer Theater Stirs Family Feud

By: Aug. 13, 2017

Princeton Summer Theater's final show of the season, APPROPRIATE, by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins could not have been better-timed. It is in every way the appropriate way to end the Princeton Summer Theater Season.

On the one hand, it's younger generation's look at the familiar theme of family dysfunction and the measure of truth in the context of individual perspectives and memory. On the other, it asks the audience to consider the legacy of racism clinging to modern families. As with many great plays of this type, a key character is dead: in this case the patriarch of the Lafayette family. Left behind are his grown children who gather to sell his neglected southern estate discovering evidence that rips open old wounds.

"The Obie Award-winning play incorporates shocking reveals coupled with absurdist undertones that expose what it means to be part of a family, culture, and nation built upon a troubled past. "

As the Princeton Summer Theater's final season, the ensemble works together with a well-established familiarity that transcends some arguable miscasting. What prevails is a connection to the playwright; a Princeton graduate and Pulitzer Prize finalist.

Particular strong is the chemistry between Olivia Nice in the role of River and Brennan Lowery as Franz, playing a millennial incarnation of a new-aged couple healing personal wounds and Christopher Damen as Bo, the straight-arrow success with troubles of his own.

APPROPRIATE runs August 10-13 and 17-20, Thursday-Saturday at 8pm and Saturday-Sunday at 2pm, at Hamilton Murray Theater. (732) 997-0205.

Photo credit: Megan Berry