The Traveling Lady

Theater, Drama Cherry Lane Theatre , West Village Wednesday July 26 2017 - Sunday July 30 2017
Recommended
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The Traveling Lady
Photograph: Courtesy Carol Rosegg

Theater review by Helen Shaw

Horton Foote has a way of tiptoeing up on you. One moment, you’re feeling lulled and lazy by his plays’ drawling Texans, who are being all neighborly and living peaceful midcentury lives. But as the play goes by, you’re suddenly awash in feeling: In his warm Chekhovian evenings, pain always arrives in Eden.

In its beautifully performed revival at the Cherry Lane, Foote’s 1954 The Traveling Lady reveals itself as a particularly well-shaped little jewel. The titular Georgette (Jean Lichty) shows up in Clara Breedlove’s backyard, her little girl in tow, looking for her just-released ex-con husband, Henry (PJ Sosko). Harrison, Texas, is the kind of place where everyone tries to give a hand: Big-hearted Slim (Larry Bull), calm Clara (Angelina Fiordellisi), nosy Sitter (Karen Ziemba), rueful Judge Robedaux (George Morfogen) and even poor Henry himself mean Georgette well. But maybe it’s a mistake that people keep talking about “breaking” Henry of his alcoholism, since broken is what he already seems to be.

Austin Pendleton has the most delicate directorial hands in the business; the show’s centerpiece is a quiet scene between Bull and Fiordellisi, a hymn to restraint. Luckily, Clara’s garden has room for some naughtier angels as well: the play’s tartest characters, teetotaler Mrs. Tillman (Jill Tanner) and cackling maniac Mrs. Mavis (the masterful Lynn Cohen). The rest of ’em invite you onto the porch, but these two keep the tea from turning too sweet.

Cherry Lane Theatre (Off Broadway). By Horton Foote. Dir. Austin Pendleton. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 45mins. No intermission. Through July 16.

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By: Helen Shaw

Posted:

Venue name: Cherry Lane Theatre
Contact:
Address: 38 Commerce St
New York
10014
Cross street: at Seventh Ave South
Transport: Subway: 1 to Christopher St–Sheridan Sq
Price: $65
Event phone: 866-811-4111
Event website: http://www.cherrylanetheatre.org
To improve this listing email: feedback@timeout.com
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