Monday, September 26, 2016

August: Osage County: ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

Jasson Miniadakis's direction of Marin Theater Company's "August: Osage County" is pretty much perfect. Tracy Letts won Tonys and a Pulitzer for writing this show (his father starred in the original production) and they've made a movie out of it starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts. Though difficult to mount, it is a stage production at heart. Above all "Osage County" demands a stellar ensemble cast.

Sherman Fracher (above) is remarkably good as Violet, the role Streep took on in the film. As the matriarch of this dysfunctional family, Violet is addicted to pills and has had a diagnosis of cancer. Sometimes she is a voice of insanity and sometimes she's the only sane one in the room.

Arwen Anderson plays Barbara, who finds herself fighting for control of her own life. Her husband Bill (David Ari, so good in MTC's "Cromwell") and she have split but they are trying to keep it a secret. Hah! There are no secrets in this house.

Barbara is developing into a younger version of her mother, while her two sisters,  Ivy (Danielle Levin) and Karen (Joanne Lubeck) are dealing with their own mountain of problems. Letts could probably write a separate play about each of these women.

The entire cast is excellent, with special mention to Danielle Bowen as Jean and Anne Darragh as Mattie Fae. Secrets. Everybody's got 'em.

RATINGS ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼
The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division gives "August: Osage County" Four Stars. Writing, acting, direction and J.B. Wilson's set earn one star each. When you can't take your eyes off a Three Act show, you know you're in the presence of masters.

August: Osage County
Marin Theatre Company
397 Miller Ave., Mill Valley
EXTENDED Through October 9

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