Our latest HSRT play was last night -- Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers, yet another show we didn't know. Wasn't quite sure if this was supposed to be a comedy or not -- apparently with Neil Simon you get a mix. He says it's a play, not a comedy, not a tragedy, not a drama -- it's a play. Okay, I can live with that.
Set in the early years of WW II, at first the play seems to be about the two boys, Jay and Arty, who have to live with their scary Old World grandmother for up to a year as their widower father has to go on the road to try to make up the money he borrowed to pay for his wife's losing cause in the hospital. But as other dysfunctional family members move in and out, it's the battle between the "slow" Aunt Bella who stayed at home with her mother which emerges. Things get said and eventually truths come to the surface where they've been simmering for years.
The Hope Summer Rep people did another brilliant job. Terrific set and cast -- especially the two boys, the real leads of Bella and the grandmother, and the small time gangster Uncle Louie (originally portrayed by Kevin Spacey on Broadway!). There's still a week-and-a-half to the HSRT season. If you're in West Michigan, please check them out.
Cold Comfort Farm in Westchester
If I was going to compare Lost in Yonkers with anything it'd be Cold Comfort Farm, which I first saw on Masterpiece Theatre way back around 1970. Ada Doom going on about "I saw something wicked in the woodshed" and the bitter old grandmother in Yonkers are perhaps hewed from the same iron grate.
Where Cold Comfort Farm is a comedy and ends in a Happily Ever After for everyone, Lost in Yonkers is more open-ended -- and therefore more like real life. And that, I think, is as it should be.