August: Osage County
When: Starts Aug. 29. Fridays, Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. and Sun., Aug. 31, 3 p.m. Continues through Aug. 31
Price: $11-$18 in advance, $13-$20 at the door
It is possible, with a fair degree of ease, to put August: Osage County forth as a reigning Great American Play. Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize-winner synthesizes a particular—and highly venerated—tradition in America, whose standard-bearers are essentially the entirety of American theater’s Golden Age: O’Neill, Miller, Williams. That tradition is the family drama, and August: Osage County is both firmly within it and simultaneously a deconstruction, with T.S. Eliot’s poetry something of a Greek chorus ending the play on a gloriously fatalistic note.
The new theater space at Sugar Space West is opening not with a whimper but a bang and an ambitious statement of purpose. Utah Repertory Theatre and Silver Summit Theatre’s co-production manages the difficult balance of showing due reverence to a great play without sinking beneath its weight. The ensemble cast puts forth uniformly solid work, eventually gaining momentum and precision after a slow-ish opening (this, admittedly, is a curse of matinee performances, and may not factor into evening shows).
The pacing issues in the beginning, however, had the ironically beneficial aspect of allowing me to appreciate the contribution of Kevin Dudley’s set to the overall tenor of the production. Unfinished-looking, with some raw angles and a high platform with no guardrail, the set externalizes the raw emotions and their potentially catastrophic consequences. It’s an apt visual for this play, and a sign of the attention to detail on every level put into this production—a wholly successful one. (Danny Bowes, City Weekly)