BWW Review: MORNING AFTER GRACE at Asolo Repertory Theatre
Not a lot of plays are written for the 50+population of which makes up a good percentage of theatregoers, according to statistics from Broadway League. This doesn't help the rising number of tenured actors looking for work either. Writer Carey Crim's Morning After Grace satisfies both the mature audience's appetite for age-relatable entertainment and the seasoned actor's fancy for distinguished roles.
Morning After Grace is written around two mature strangers, Angus (70) and Abigail (63) who wake up one morning, naked on his couch in his upscale retirement community home in Florida. Awaking from an obvious prior night of carousing, they fumble around each other trying to sort through what might have happened. They just start to find out things they like and don't like about each other when a neighbor is tossed into the mix. Ollie, a retired baseball pro, stops by for a visit and oddly enough happens to know Abigail. What ensues next is a bit of a contrived plot with a few twists and turns that are moderately entertaining to watch unfold, albeit slow moving. The play is peppered with several great one-liners that receive chuckles from the audience. There were some odd moments when the actors exit that weren't clear whether we would see them again or not. This made for some sporadic attempts by the audience at appreciative performance applause and felt out of place and awkward. The interaction during their medical marijuana jaunt though was deliciously engaging.
I was left with a sense of wanting a little more from this production. The writing needed to be tighter and more believable and you can't find fault with the cast for that. The actors were top notch. Only a pillow could stop acclaimed TV, Broadway, National and Regional actor Jack Wetherall as Angus, from revealing all of his acting prowess on so many levels. He was suave and persuasive. Catherine Smitko was up to the task of breathing life into quirky and lovable Grace. David Alan Anderson was charming as Ollie and boyishly adorable in his angst over his sexual identity. The threesome worked beautifully together and strove to compliment each other's characters. Director Peter Amster gave his cast the breadth and depth they needed to fully portray their character's emotional hopes and fears.
Although I feel there were some loose ends in the writing of this production, my takeaway is this. Growing old is one thing. Growing older with grace and dignity is another. As we age perhaps we should be doing what we have been telling young people to do all of their lives. Just be yourself.