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THIS SIDE OF SWEETWATER

ensemble theatre · lightning rod theater · Ages 18+ · world premiere · United States of America

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Review by MAUREEN LENKER

June 12, 2017 stage raw
tagged as: bittersweet · emotional

What I liked

The final short play, marked as the epilogue, packed the biggest punch — brimming with grief, remembrance, and a touching sense of humor, it tied a nice bow on the entire reason for this production’s being. It possessed strong direction, fine performances, and a bittersweet script. Closing with that was the perfect button and an emotionally resonant choice.

What I didn't like

The other works were more haphazard and harder to follow. And the performances widely ranged in ability and success.

My overall impression

The thrust of the production — to honor a playwright who has passed by putting on a selection of his works — was a sweet and aching one. And you could feel the grief and sense of loss throughout, but most particularly in the epilogue, which was the most successful part of the show. It’s perhaps a bit unfortunate that the other plays were so uneven in their writing and performances that the strongest part of the show was not the playwright who passed’s work, but the short play written to remember him. Still, the bittersweet conclusion sends you out with a well of emotion and overall, it’s a touching tribute to a lost friend, artist, and lover.

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