Lil's 90th -- Heartwarming but breaks no new ground.

By Bob and Karen Isaacs

BOB:  We saw two new plays in Connecticut recently and unfortunately neither will make a lasting impression on the dramatic canon.

KAREN: Long Wharf is presenting Lil's 90th, by Darci Picoult.

BOB:  It stars Lois Smith and David Marguilies -- a real-life couple -- as Charlie and Lil, a long married couple.

KAREN: The press release describes the plot, "As Lillian nears a milestone birthday, she and her family put the finishing touches on the much-anticipated party at which she'll make her singing debut. There's a speech to be written, a band to rehearse and, of course, an outfit to choose. But then Lil's husband Charlie's secret gets out - the birthday surprise that he hoped would make her day may instead tear their lives apart."
 
BOB:  This is nicely performed and directed BUT it really doesn't add up to much. There are too many moments when the characters do dumb things.

KAREN: Yes, at times I wanted to yell out -- to the daughter and grandson -- don't you see what is happening -- why don't you do this or that.

BOB: Right. Without giving too much away, let us say that Charlie has gotten caught up in a scam - perhaps he is in the beginning stages of dementia or Alzheimers -- and though some of the family notices -- they aren't very effective at dealing with the consequences.

KAREN: This play is touching and sentimental -- it would make a great made for TV movie on Lifetime.

BOB:  But it isn't great theater. Lil's 90th is running at Long Wharf through February 7.

This review originally aired on WNHU 88.7FM and WNHU.net


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