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AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY – ‘WHIMSICAL INSULTS’ AND TRUTHS TO TAKE HOME

Production Photos © Bob Seary

It’s only when the cast of 13 line up across the stage for curtain calls that you really take in what an achievement AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY is.  Playing at the New Theatre, this work is so enjoyable and well-crafted that one is swept away with the characters and their story.  People come and go in this tale set in the heat of an Oklahoma small town and each of the performances blends seamlessly into the atmospheric narrative.  It’s long, three acts. But, with the help of two intervals, time flies by on the wings of a thoroughly enjoyable production from a Tony and Drama Desk winning script by Pulitzer Prize winner, Tracy Letts.

Beverly Weston is speaking to a figure in the dark as the play begins.  It will turn out that this, once promising,poet is interviewing Johnna for a position as cook and cleaner in his house just outside Pawhuska, Oklahoma.  It will also turn out that he has an addiction to alcohol and his wife, Violet, has an addition to pills.  And cigarettes, despite her mouth being filthy with cancer and little cruelties.  As the story weaves into itself after this prologue and after a tragedy, we will meet their three daughters, Ivy, Barbara and Karen and truths will be told in the heat of a southern summer. Continue reading AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY – ‘WHIMSICAL INSULTS’ AND TRUTHS TO TAKE HOME

AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY

A dream cast. Ewan McGregor, Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis, Dermot Mulroney, Chris Cooper, Margo Martindale, Julianne Nicholson, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch
AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY features a dream cast including Ewan McGregor, Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis, Dermot Mulroney, Chris Cooper, Margo Martindale, Julianne Nicholson, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch

AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY is a Midwestern melodrama, directed by John Wells, adapted for the big screen by the playwright Tracy Letts.

Wells’s film covers the lives of strong-willed women and their tag-along men. Their lives have diverged but are brought back together by a family crisis,  which sees them return to their family home and their cranky, drug-addicted matriarch (Meryl Streep).

Their alcoholic father has gone missing. They later learn he has drowned himself. The three sisters have become estranged from their drug addicted mother, who now has mouth cancer, and thus access to more drugs. The entire family gathers for an awkward funeral dinner. The vicious conversation is orchestrated by the mother, as she engages in “truth telling”.

Whilst most of the venom is verbal, there is one shocking physical fight on the floor between the eldest favourite daughter (Julia Roberts) and her dysfunctional mother (Meryl Streep)

The sisters’ stories of divorce; one sister’s engagement to a sleazy, child preying, many-times married businessman; and love and incest bubble to the surface of this steaming cauldron.

Strong acting from Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, supported by a very competent ensemble of actors makes this a satisfying film. The weakest part was the score, but it did not detract from or interfere with the overall satisfaction.

A feisty foray into a dysfunctional female-dominated family.