Gray Skies Ahead

Reviving David Storey's English melancholy

As a backdrop to this Actors Company Theatre foray into full-fledged production (the company previously presented the play as a concert reading), Mimi Lien has designed an imposing, blurred skyscape. The backdrop, like the production itself, manages to be evocative, teasingly vague, and too literal-minded. The image comes, after all, out of Storey's Pinter-lite dialogue, as aging confreres Jack (Simon Jones) and Harry (Larry Keith) muse together on the shifting shapes of clouds. You might remember Hamlet dwelling on a similar point. While the Danish prince was insisting on the unfathomable depths of personality, the point in Home is both, well, homelier and more elusive. Things aren't what they seem, perhaps, and even if they are, who can keep track? What's clearer is why Storey's play waited 30-odd years for a revival.

Home has its undeniable pleasures. Jones and Keith deftly manage the intricate rhythms of their often obscure byplay, while Cynthia Darlow and Cynthia Harris invest Jack and Harry's flatter female counterparts with genuine feeling. Storey, for his part, conjures the delicate English melancholy of drizzly gardens and Kinks concept albums. But the evanescent beauty of Home's high points is dispelled by the relatively flat-footed surprise premise underneath. Both play and production come off as virtuoso exercises, impressive and instructive, but nothing to get lost in.

 
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