FUNNY YET IN­TENSE

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - LIFESTYLE -

PLAYLOVERS, one of WA’s most awarded com­mu­nity the­atre groups, is con­tin­u­ing to sur­vive with the aid of the Old Mill The­atre.

The the­atre has of­fered its beau­ti­ful venue for this sea­son’s pro­duc­tion of Other Desert Ci­ties writ­ten by Jon Robin Baitz and di­rected by Barry Park.

The play is a richly sat­is­fy­ing, fine-tuned con­tem­po­rary play that ef­fec­tively bal­ances com­edy with in­tense fam­ily drama.

Win­ner of the Outer Crit­ics Cir­cle Award for Out­stand­ing New Off-Broad­way Play and a fi­nal­ist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize, Baitz’s play ex­am­ines the lies peo­ple tell to pro­tect each other and the dam­age they cause.

“The great­est chal­lenge with an ab­sorb­ing play like this is to cast it well,” Park said.

“I have as­sem­bled an ex­tremely strong cast of out­stand­ing sea­soned ac­tors who fully un­der­stand the nu­ances of the text and play their roles to per­fec­tion.”

Along with Sally Barendse as Brooke Wyeth, there is Cate Jen­nings as her con­trol­ling, mother Polly; Dean McAskil her pro­tec­tive, Repub­li­can ex-Hol­ly­wood film star fa­ther Ly­man; Chan­dra Wy­att, her sup­port­ive re­cov­er­ing al­co­holic aunt Silda; and Steven Houn­some, her laid­back TV pro­ducer brother Trip.

Other Desert Ci­ties is set in 2004, when Amer­i­can opin­ion was split over the de­ci­sion to in­vade Iraq.

There was po­lit­i­cal un­ease world­wide and there were mass pub­lic protests.

The po­lit­i­cal di­vide be­tween the char­ac­ters is clear.

Polly and Ly­man are both very con­ser­va­tive, with Polly mak­ing strong, brazen state­ments through­out, which Brooke and Silda ve­he­mently op­pose.

Steven Houn­some and Sally Barendse in Other Desert Ci­ties.

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