To summarize The Lion in Winter as a drama about a dysfunctional family is to facilely devalue this examination of just how base the human animal can be in the grip of power and ambition. Director William Hayes and a fine cast make the most of the acerbic gallows humor in Palm Beach Dramaworks’ bravura production, but they also build Goldman’s underlying case for the less than laudable aspects of our nature.
Put Actors’ Playhouse production of Making God Laugh pretty much in the insightful column. Playwright Sean Grennan uses our recognition of the laughter and pain common to most familial relationships and uses it as a building block in his farcical comedy that transmutes into poignant drama.
While David Sedaris’ The SantaLand Diaries has its share of funny, when his script stoops low for laughs, he dashes all the other precious gifts he doles out in this very inventive one-person show. Yet there are reasons to see Empire Stage’s production of the adult-tinged, bah-humbug holiday theater tradition.
The Maltz Jupiter Theatre’s sumptuous and skillful production of Annie resembles that strange holiday gift that you’re not quite sure how to react to. It’s beautifully wrapped and artfully manufactured but it’s missing the magic and heart you were secretly hoping for.