This is so sentimental – and irresistible. First appearing on Broadway in 1953, featuring silent movie star Lillian Gish in the role now played by Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful follows Carrie Watts, an elderly woman who dreams of returning to her small Texas hometown of Bountiful one last time. Her bossy daughter-in-law forbids it, her overprotective son worries it’s too much for her frail health and nobody will cash her pension check.
I liked this a great deal more than I expected! It’s no secret that I don’t care much for melodramatic plays full of straight boy attitude – I’m talking to you David Mamet and Neil LaBute! Of that sort of thing, I most enjoy Sam Shepard, who digs a lot deeper than the abovementioned duo; plus, his plays are filled with visual and literary images of great (and often somewhat mysterious) impact.
This revival is decidedly better than many reviews out there suggest. Perhaps the problem is that Clifford Odets’s The Big Knife, a very good play, is showing up in a season with top-flight revival of what many feel is his best play, Golden Boy.
This is Douglas Carter Beane’s best play yet! In The Nance, he delves into a world that has long fascinated me, the world of effeminate gays as characters in nightclub entertainment of the early 20th Century.
I’ll admit I’m biased – I may not be a boomer who lived through the glory days of Motown, but I have loved Detroit soul for as long as I can remember. So, even though Motown the Musical isn’t as well constructed as, say, Dreamgirls (ahem), I still had a royally good time.