Review "Heartbreak House": Avoid Heartache, See it!

Audio Podcast at ITUNES 
Narrated by Joshua Volkers

Writers’ Theatre presents 

At 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe
Written by George Bernard Shaw
Directed by William Brown
Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7:30pm
Wednesdays (May 18th & June 22nd) at 2pm
Thursdays and Fridays at 8pm
Saturdays at 4pm and 8pm
Sundays at 2pm and 6pm (except no 6pm on May 22nd and June 26th) 
Thru June 26th 
Running Time:  Two hours and forty-five minutes includes two intermissions

Reviewed by Katy Walsh

Q:  ‘How can you love a liar?’  
A: ‘I don’t know but apparently you can!’   
Writers’ Theatre presents George Bernard Shaw’s HEARTBREAK HOUSE.  In the gentle English countryside, an eccentric family meddles in the lives and loves of house guests.  The patriarch is an old sea captain that collects dynamite.  His daughter and her husband are his bored housemates that collect suitors.  A young girl, her father and her elderly fiance are invited into the unorthodox homestead.  Joining them, the captain’s prodigal daughter followed closely by her stalker brother-in-law.  Let the heartbreak commence!  Affections are negotiated. Partners are swapped.  Baggage is claimed.  The weekend getaway is packed to capacity with frivolity and turmoil. HEARTBREAK HOUSE captivates with ‘diabolical family fascination.’        
Q: ‘Why do women want other women’s husbands?’
A:  ‘Why do horse thieves want a broken-in one instead of a wild one?’ 
In 1919, Playwright George Bernard Shaw penned a poignant comedy bursting with timeless truths.  Shaw uses acerbic dialogue and quirky characters to reveal human flaws and political agendas.  For the-sugar-coated-Holllywood-happy-ending-guarantee addicts, Shaw’s ageless classic is an intervention.  More aligned to the true nature of men and women, HEARTBREAK HOUSE tells it like it is.  Shaw gives his characters  free reign without polite convention.  The filterless conversations are deliciously absurd. Every quip is a quotable masterpiece. 

‘When our relatives are at home, we have to think of all their good points or it would be impossible to endure them.’
Under the expert direction of William Brown, this show is cast perfectly!  Each ensemble member magnificently transforms into distinct and idiosyncratic characters.  In the houseful of talent, the family members are the resident standouts. ‘Oh captain!  My captain!’  John Reeger (Captain Shotover) is fantastic delivering nuggets of wisdom alongside hilariously, wacky one liners.  Reeger steers the ship with a charming rugged exterior and seasoned sensibility.  Karen Janes Woditsch (Hesione) is outlandish with flippant statements.  Woditsch delightfully interjects herself into other people’s affairs.  Her witty delivery anchors the offbeat comedy.  Her husband, Martin Yurek (Hector) is an over-the-top lady killer.  Clad in Lawrence of Arabia attire, Yurek flirts and laments with amusing theatrical flair. Tiffany Scott (Ariadne) provides a complex glimpse of a successful but loveless woman.  Scott balances a stinging facade with an underlying sadness.  Atra Asdou (Ellie) enchants as the naive and manipulative young woman.  The entire ensemble is sublime!
Scenic designer Keith Pitts creates a utopia for the relationships’ implosion.  Set in the back yard, the entire theatre dangles with branches and lanterns.  The incredible detail, broken terra cotta pots, gravel path, worn back porch, is authentic.  It’s like theatre-in- the-park inside.  The beautiful, natural tranquility contrasts brilliantly with the messy, farce unfolding.  Ah, there is so much to love about this production! To avoid personal heartache, you shouldn’t miss Writers’ Theatre’s HEARTBREAK HOUSE
Having wed for love, Jasleen describes it with ‘crafty matrimonial money.’

Leave a comment