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Independence

ensemble theatre · v watson productions · Ages 14+ · United States

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Review by DAVID WISEHART

June 06, 2014 certified reviewer

My overall impression

A terrific ensemble cast brings this heartfelt family drama vividly to life. Shelley Phillips gives a wonderfully nuanced portrayal of the mentally unbalanced matriarch Evelyn, who spins her madness like a web to stop her three grown daughters from leaving the lair. Phillips makes admirable choices in a role that could easily have slipped into caricature, but in this production is well-grounded in three brutally honest mother-daughter relationships. Kat Muldoon shines as the eldest daughter, Kess, who finds refuge in rationality, and returns home to fix a problem that may have no solution. Jenny Simpson is phenomenal as the pregnant Jo, the child who parents the mother, and who finds refuge in a romance that is as much a fantasy in her head as it is a reality in her womb. Lauren Benge is hilarious as the acerbic Sherry, who finds refuge in meaningless sex and the solace of art. Debut director and veteran actress Vernée Watson coaxes truthful performances from a talented cast. Highly recommended.

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