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The Velocity of Autumn

  • Theater, Drama
  • 2 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

The Velocity of Autumn. Booth Theatre (see Broadway). By Eric Coble. Directed by Molly Smith. With Estelle Parsons, Stephen Spinella. Running time: 1hr 30mins. No intermission.

The Velocity of Autumn: In brief

Getting old is never easy, but septuagenarian Alexandra (Estelle Parsons) is making it especially dramatic. The feisty grandma has barricaded herself in her Brooklyn apartment with a bunch of Molotov cocktails, threatening to blow up the block if her family tries to put her in a home. Stephen Spinella costars in this new dramedy by Eric Coble.

The Velocity of Autumn: Theater review by David Cote

In case its telegraph title didn’t clue you in, The Velocity of Autumn is about aging. As 79-year-old Park Slope resident Alexandra (Parsons) repeatedly moans, the sunset years are no picnic: Your mind goes, your body crumbles, and everyone leaves. Ironically, the dominant sensation produced by Eric Coble’s anemic two-hander is also that of growing old. The minutes slip by, you lose feeling in parts of your body and find yourself 90 minutes closer to the grave, with nothing to show for it but a crumpled Playbill.

If producers were set on bringing a regional-theater sitcom to Broadway, at least they hired pros: Parsons does her crazy-bird shtick, holed up in a brownstone with Molotov cocktails that she’ll ignite if her children force her into a nursing home. Spinella is sweetly hangdog as an estranged gay son who tries to talk her off the ledge. They spar, they bond, they reminisce in real time with the requisite acting-class–friendly monologues. But it’s not a good sign when you’re praying that Granny gets her Zippo to work.—Theater review by David Cote

THE BOTTOM LINE Better luck to Parsons and Spinella next season.

Follow David Cote on Twitter: @davidcote

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