The Lyons @ Vineyard Theatre Through Oct. 30th
A family is grappling with their patriarch’s death in this enthralling and stirring drama comedy, The Lyons, by Nicky Silver. The Lyons has gathered to bid farewell to their dying patriarch, Ben Lyons. As the plot dynamically evolves, Ben’s death becomes a catalyst that propels each character into dazzling, heated arguments that force each to confront their issue of fear and isolation, ending with one character suffering the consequences. Though each character is different, they possess similar problems that are dealt with in different ways. The stellar cast believably makes you feel every action and emotion. They look right through you and keep you guessing.
With her impeccable wit, Linda Lavin bursts onto the stage as the charismatic matriarch Rita. Linda Lavin feels, breathes, and paints a picture of Rita to an extreme that isn’t outlandish. With poise and sarcasm she hides Rita’s pain with her humor. You start to understand the emotions she was feeling and the choice she had made when she, in the end, wears her vulnerability on her sleeve. Dick Latessa is candid as Ben Lyons. He makes you listen to his unbiased opinion, towards his family, and does so with a stubbornness that isn’t erratic. Kate Jennings Grant possesses stamina that leaves an immense impression as she makes you feel her pain as the daughter with an alcohol problem, Lisa. It’s as if a weight has been put on her shoulders. She makes a mistake as she tries to lift it off, and then slowly learns how to move on with it. Kate Jennings Grant exhibits this natural progression effortlessly and flourishes in her ability to let the audience know that, even though, things aren’t perfect, she will be ok. This also works for Michael Esper’s character Curtis, the son. The difference is he’s already carrying the weight. Michael Esper’s affecting performance commands the stage with fire and edge. His intensity, wants, and needs are genuine but his actions and words differ. His strong presence makes you feel every ounce of loneliness and resentment he harbors.
Nicky Silver eloquently creates one of those exciting nights at the theatre where you feel an array of emotions as the play depicts a family in pain with a perfect amount of comedic flair and pathos. The Lyons sucks you in, takes you on an emotional roller coaster, and refuses to stop until it is through with you.
The Lyons runs at Vineyard Theatre Through October 30. For more information please visit http://www.vineyardtheatre.org/show-lyons.html.