Theatre Spoken Here Review of Affluence

Some people deserve to die, but not my Mom, is the issue explored in Steven Peterson’s new play about a family crisis among the rich. Twelve million dollars will be lost if Grandma doesn’t go soon and how the family deals with this crisis is what it’s all about. There’s Grandma herself, trusting to the end that her loyal son will do the best for all, but what she thinks will be best is anyone’s guess. The tug of war to keep her alive – or send her gently into that good night – soon heats up after the first act.

Dad loves his mom, his wife loathes the old biddy, the grandkids love their granny but are too self centered to worry about anything as mundane as money. Then there is the gentle caregiver, with her own hidden agenda, who loves recklessly – or does she?

But for Dad, it’s not money that matters; it’s family and the continuation of the Woodley family name.

Lloyd Pedersen is craftily subtle as Dad, a former Mama’s boy now a hen-pecked husband; Rhonda Lord is a nasty daughter-in-law whose headaches are manifestations of a deeper pain; Nan Tepper is the regal matron anxious to have her dynasty continue; Christine Uhebe is the enigmatic caregiver whose secret endangers her patients’ lives; Justin Huff is the simple-minded heir to a fortune and a tradition, while Ilona Kulinska is the quintessential bratty kid-sister personified.

Larry Eisenberg’s fast-paced direction sets up the family dynamics, while set by Jeff G. Rack and costumes by Michèle Young suggest their casual affluence.