"Till Death" is filled with twists and turns; Abingdon Theater Company produced this play with direction by Chad Austin and it is effective both from the projection stand point (Lisa Renkel) and the set design (Teresa L. Williams). The plot is about a 75 year old dying mother, her second husband, Michael (Robert Cuccioli), her three children and grandson. As things slowly unravel we see the difference in the two girls, a brilliant Anne (Whitney Morse), a high strung Lucy, (Amy Hargreaves) and a son who is money hungry, Jason (Dominick Laruffa Jr). Playwright Elizabeth Coplan has written for the most part a good body of work that was daring and somewhat edgy. For 75 minutes, Coplan takes us on a journey.The conflicts between Michael and Lucy are monumental. Lucy sees her step father who is also a widower as an interloper on the family. He sees her as overbearing and brusque.
The high points of this play are certainly the first thirty minutes and the last twenty five minutes. It is here that the audience is most engaged on the action. The play lingers in the middle of this otherwise very good play. With an experienced cast and a modern but interesting set, "Til Death" is one of the best off Broadway shows I have seen this season. As a Seattle family, Coplan brings out the even temperament of the play; the Gorman's for the most part get along and are civil amongst one another. Over cautious about how things will proceed once the matriarch is gone, Coplan sets the gas on the stove for the water to slowly boil over.
As we see Mary (Judy Kaye) prepare for her last days is when "Til Death" goes into overdrive. She loves her grandson Nick (Michael Lee Brown) and confides in him some very secretive things. Mary has no pretense towards her life. She accepts each sibling for who they are and she sees all and says little until it is absolutely necessary. She supports her more meek daughter and encourages her to continue painting. As a struggling artist, Anne will get a lions share of the estate, or so they think.
Amy Hargreaves, Whitney Morse and Judy Kaye give a consistent performance throughout. While the rest of the cast is good, lines by other actors are missed and slipped upon which slowed the action down a little. Even so, "Til Death" is worth seeing. It is good to see an old fashion type of off Broadway show for a change. As off Broadway becomes more political, racial and woke, it is great to see a well written, thought provoking, interesting play. Abingdon is one of my favorite theater companies and in this one, they do it right!
On a commentary: I like Abingdon, BEDLAM, The New Group and J2 Productions as off Broadway Theater Companies. Maybe it is because they bring old classics, new really good works that I personally yearn for. I have written many columns about how off and off off Broadway have produced weaker pieces for the most part, how these show cases have all but ruined the off and off Broadway experience. When I see shows like "Til Death", Sabbath's Theatre, "The Diary of A Madman" at the Russian Theater Company, "The Goodbye Girl" at J2 Productions, "Arcadia" by BEDLAM, to name a few, I am encouraged that theater like this will continue to promote great writing; or at least bring back old great works to watch again and again.
Broadway, off Broadway, Some Like it Hot, A Beautiful Noise, MJ The Musical, Hamilton, Harry Potter, Aladdin, Back To The Future, The Play That Goes Wrong, Kelli O'Hara, Cynthia Nixon, Tony Awards, Laura Linney, Obie Awards.
About the Creator
I have been writing on theater since 1982. A graduate from Manhattan College B.S. A member of Alpha Sigma Lambda, which recognizes excellence in both English and Science. I have produced 14 shows on and off Broadway. I've seen over700 shows