A cold front is passing over the warmer waters of Lake Erie, bringing snow and icy winds to the streets of Cleveland. The metaphor of rising and falling temperatures permeates "Rajiv Joseph's "The Lake Effect," as frigid personal relations yield slowly to acceptance and understanding.
Vijay (Adam Poss) has returned to the family diner, having received a note from his father Vinode that the diner is to be sold. Poring through his father's ledger, he discovers the family has run out of money. Enter Jason Bowen, playing Bernard, a friend of Vijay's father but unknown to Vijay. Lots of things have been unknown to Vijay, including his father's gambling habit which has been ably assisted by Bernard.
But Bernard is no thief. And Vinode appears to always win his bets. So where is the money? The understory begins to reveal itself as Priya, Vijay's sister arrives. Priya is a little sketchy but has her own story to tell.
Drama, humor and honesty: "The Lake Effect" is a perfect one-act play. Author Joseph and Director Giovanna Sardelli present us with complete stories within each scene. We see disbelief and mistrust change to understanding, we see the immigrant experience as it evolves with each advancing generation and we see how trust can sometimes trump truth.
RATINGS: ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼
The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division awards "The Lake Effect" Four Stars. Story, acting, directions, sets, costumes, lights and music are all first rate. We feel for Vijay and Priya but we love Bernard. Jason Bowen's big heart shows us how basic is our need for community and friendship. For us, this is Rajiv Joseph's best work since the brilliant "Animals Out of Paper." The Lake Effect will stick with you for awhile, and make you happy you don't live in Cleveland during the winter.
"The Lake Effect"
Lucie Stern Theatre
1305 Middlefield Road
Palo Alto, CA
Through March 29