Written by Nicky Silver
Directed by Scott Alan Smith
The Road Theatre Company
In a perfect world the terminal prognoses of a family member, especially a parent, is supposed to bring sharply and definitively into focus both the fragility of our lives and the importance of our closest and most deeply defining relationships. In a perfect world but ‘perfect’ is not the world of the Lyons family.
"The Lyons" is set in a hospital room where it becomes clear fairly quickly that the patriarch, Mr Lyons, is dying of cancer.
His focus of what little time he has left is to be as obnoxious and contrary as he possibly can, and to make every effort to brutally and hilariously play his truth card to each of his two children and his far from dotting wife.
His wife, meantime, seems equally focused, although far more joyously so, on the future…without him. A future full of redecorating and repurposing her life. Something she is rather happy to share with her rapidly deceasing husband and especially with her alcoholic and depressed daughter and her manically isolated and slightly psychotic gay son.
Kris Frost and Chad Coe star in the ROAD THEATRE COMPANY's Los Angeles premiere of THE LYONS by Nicky Silver, directed by Scott Alan Smith and now playing at the ROAD THEATRE on LANKERSHIM. PHOTO CREDIT: Michele Young
A happy family they are not, but rich fodder for this darkly comic drama full of painfully familiar familial bickering and the kind of betrayals only a family can tolerate.
Through the course of the play, each of them, father, mother, son and daughter, reveal their painful secrets and are somewhat mortified to find them already known. But that is the nature of family, you just can’t get away with anything.
With the help of some brilliant performances by Judith Scarpone, James Hardy, Verity Branco, Chad Coe, Kris Frost, Liz Herron and Amy Tolsky, Nicky Silver’s clever and uncomfortably poignant play successfully entertains as it reminds us how difficult maintaining honest, open relationships with those who we are supposed to be permanently connected to truly is. How well do we really know each other? Even sisters, parents and spouses can become more and more mysterious the longer they are in our lives. Do we really put in the effort to understand each other or are we all just waiting for someone to die so we can move on and buy new couches? Food for thought.
The Road Theatre Company seems to choose the plays it produces with such artful and spectacular taste that I can hardly find fault with any of them, and this particular gem is no exception. Funny, moving and thoughtful and just a little bit nutty, "The Lyons" is a play for the darkly real among us. For those of us who have family members we feel we should be close to but can never really seem to hold a civil conversation with, or even want to half the time, we can’t choose our family right? Well maybe sometimes we should.
Verity Branco and Judith Scarpone star in the ROAD THEATRE COMPANY's Los Angeles premiere of THE LYONS by Nicky Silver, directed by Scott Alan Smith and now playing at the ROAD THEATRE on LANKERSHIM. PHOTO CREDIT: Michele Young
I think I laughed out loud more times than I can remember ever doing so in a play.
It’s like the Cohen Brothers and Woody Allen had a dysfunctional angry child who was too funny to be mad at. A hilarious and fascinating glimpse into a group of people with more regret between them than Bernie Madoff should.
The production quality of this, the last play of the Road season, is fantastic. But that is to be expected at The Road. The set design incredible and the casting and direction by Scott Alan Smith superb.
I most highly recommend "The Lyons" at The Road on Lankershim. If you love L.A. theatre, then it really is a must see!!
Rits- Judith Scarpone
Ben- James Handy
Lisa - Verity Branco
Curtis - Chad Coe
Brian - Kris Frost
Nurse - Liz Herron and Amy Tolsky
The Road Theatre Company
5108 Lankershim Blvd.,
North Hollywood 91601
May 12 - July 17
Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm