Interweaving the lives of fictional thespian couple Oliver (James Patrick Nelson) and Lee (Marianne Miller) with those of real-life 19th-century literary siblings Charles and Mary Lamb (Sam Tsoutsouvas and Tandy Cronyn), Nat Cassidy’s new play attempts to explore not only the horrors of living with mental illness but also the healing and redemptive power of Shakespeare. Disappointingly, however, the piece—so driven to celebrate the verdant lyricism of the Bard’s verse—is consistently mired in its own bombastic language. The terrifying insights Cassidy gestures toward devolve, all too often, into trite shouting matches; passages from Shakespeare, brushed in throughout the entire piece, do more to cover its faults than highlight its strengths. Although the four actors are well cast and capable—Nelson merits particular praise for consistently managing to keep his mile-a-minute speeches intelligible—the script doesn't give them a chance to dig too deep beneath the old, familiar surface.—Chris Corbo
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