(L. to R.) Thomas J. Cox,, John Mahoney and Rondi Reed. PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Brosilow.
Mahoney, Reed and Cox. Photo credit: Michael Brosilow.
Chicago, Monday, May 23, 2011. Playwright Bruce Graham manages to tackle more than the fish that lead actor Gunner (John Mahoney) casts his line for in Northlight Theatre's emotionally-charged "The Outgoing Tide". Graham handles the difficult
subject matter of when to let go in a sensitive, humanistic, yet darkly humorous manner.
Although there is nothing funny about Alzheimer's disease or end of life decisions, somehow, Bruce is able to raise the ante by poking fun at institutions and people alike by saying many of the not p.c. things that people are afraid to speak out loud--yet, he still keeps in touch with the troubling emotional decisions
that the family must make.
A top-drawer cast featuring Chicago favorite and winner of many prestigious awards, John Mahoney as Gunner; Tony award-winner and Steppenwolf ensemble member Rondi Reed, as Peg; and founding member of the Lookingglass ensemble, Thomas J. Cox as the couple's son, Jack, play out the dialogue with precision timing and superb acting.
Mahoney, the 70-something Gunner, is in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. His son Jack (Thomas J. Cox), who is undergoing his own emotional crisis,
has come to visit. He arrives in a state of denial to his father's condition, although he has been forewarned by mom, Peg (Rondi Reed).
In the family's summer cottage on Chesapeake Bay, the family members are left to sort things out and try to find common ground. Gunner has hatched an unorthodox plan that he believes is best for all but meets resistance.
Don't let the subject matter of this play keep you away. "The Outgoing Tide" is thought-provoking and funny. It puts the audience on an emotional roller coaster--laughing, crying and questioning. And that's exactly what good theater should be...and is at "The Outgoing Tide."
"The Outgoing Tide" at Northlight Theatre, North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie, Skokie. Tickets: ($40-$50), call (847) 673-6300 or online. Running time: One hour and 50 minutes, including one intermission. The Outgoing Tide has been extended and now runs through July 3, 2011