The Lyons Penguin Pont Productions
by Carl F Gauze
Who knew death could be this funny? In this darkest of black comedies, Ben (Wanzie) lies on his death bed, listening to his wife Rita (Lamarre) describing how she plans to redecorate once he’s gone. Ben would prefer to keep the living room as it is, although frankly, it’s a little late. His daughter Lisa (Laura Cooper) arrives, fresh off the AA wagon. She has a crush on her sponsor and while dad is on his last legs, he’s a pretty good at making a case about why that’s a bad idea. He presents facts and yells louder than anyone else. In other words, he’s a consummate jerk. Finally, his son Brian (Buckelew) appears. He’s gay and has a hot imaginary boyfriend. Mom wants to meet this invisible beau but now he’s in trouble. He inexplicably goes to see a new apartment and attacks the agent (Gabriel Garcia) for Reasons. It’s dysfunctional family with a capital “D”.
Are these bad people? Individually, no, but they are painfully close to most of our realities. A solid, loving family is the Hallmark version of life and we all have spats and grudge and misgiving. The Lyons family only does what theater does best: amplify reality until its so loud it hurts your ears and psyche. The cast bounces off the walls like professional wrestle in a grudge match. The calm center in this circus is the unnamed “Nurse” (Ayọ Demps). She administers pain killers, provides inedible food, and cleans up after the physical spills, if not the psychic bruises. How realistic is this show? I’m happy to say its never been this bad in my gene pool, but I’ve seen all this somewhere, just not all at the same time. Go see it, and be happy your not in it. And take it as a cautionary tale: be nice, you never know who might end up pulling your plug.