REVIEW: Phoenix Theatre's 'The Lyons'

March 11, 2013
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

I'm not sure how Ben Lyons came into this world. But he certainly doesn't go out like a lamb in Nicky Silver's comedy "The Lyons," given a rollicking Midwest premiere at the Phoenix Theatre (running through March 31) .

Symptoms of his final cancerous days for Ben include a newfound penchant for expletives and a loss of the ability to bite his tongue when dealing with his wife, Rita, a woman so ready to move on that she blithely monopolizes some of her husband's final moments with thoughts on how to redecorate the living room that he'll never see again.

Maybe the next generation of Lyons will be happier? Unlikely. Son Curtis lives in a world where his illusions seem to operate like funhouse mirrors while daughter Lisa is so used to being treated badly that anything else seems abnormal. They are both adults, in theory, but each has the worst qualities of both children who won't take responsibility for themselves and seniors who have resigned themselves to be who they are.

What's remarkable about Silver's script and the Phoenix's production (directed by Butler University's William Fisher) is how hilariously, painfully funny it is to watch these Lyons reopen old wounds and use claws of all kinds to create new ones. 

Charles Goad plays Ben largely from a hospital bed that doesn't seem half as confining as the life he's built. Diane Kondrat conquers Rita, turning what could be a one-note role into a rich character whose defense may be to preemptively strike, but who has just enough knowledge of the person she might still be that she generates an odd kind of hope. 

Scot Greenwell and Angela Plank, as the children, have the tougher parts. They get fewer punch lines and Greenwell has to navigate a difficult scene at the top of Act II that takes us out of the hospital room and into what seems like another play. It takes a while to get accustomed to the lack of the elder Lyons but Silver knows where he is going and this unsettling side trip becomes essential to his play’s oddly satisfying ending.

Your thoughts?

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this blog

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT