The other night I had the privilege to witness greatness, which was the second installment to; The Gabriel’s: Election year in the life of one family. Now you might think, “I can’t see it because I didn’t see the first play.” FALSE! I didn’t see the first play and I wasn’t lost at all. The play takes place 6 months after the first play, Hungry. We are all sat in the kitchen with the Gabriel family as they prepare dinner.
How can you keep an audience entertained for 90 minutes with no intermission with a setting of just a kitchen? Well, playwright and director, Richard Nelson, delivers such a flavorful and natural script that you feel like you are almost intruding on this family, but you can’t look away! By the end of the show I felt like I was a part of this family.
Now what is a family diner without a little drama? We discover that the Gabriel’s are short on money and have to help bail out their 82-year-old mother who has been scammed. This results in the family going through Thomas’ novels seeing if any will sell, and selling the family piano. Tension runs high and we see fights between siblings but ultimately we are just witnessing a family in grief after their brother/ husband/ sons death.
Mary Ann Plunkett (Mary Gabriel, Thomas’ wife) really drives the show. She brings up stories and old work and delivers each line with such ease. She was hauntingly beautiful. Her last line of the show will leave you in tears and speechless. Next we have Lynn Hawley (Hannah, sister in law) who is quite the opposite. She brings a zest to the mix and will have you on the floor laughing with her jabs. And good ole George, the brother everyone wishes they had, played by Jay O Sanders. You can’t help but love George and all his wild stories. We can’t forget about spunky sister Joyce portrayed by Amy Warren, who consistently plays devil advocate but in the kindest way that doesn’t make you hate her. And to add a little more drama, Thomas’ first wife, Karen (Meg Gibson) moves in. And lastly, Patricia Gabriel (mom) played by Roberta Maxwell, who may be silent most of the show but she speaks volumes!
This show will sweep you off your feet. It’s witty, relevant to what’s going on in our world without forcing it down your throats, and over all heart warming. And for the love of god, please Hilary, BE HUMAN! Run to the Public Theatre and see, What did you expect!
Review: Briana Burnside
Photos: Joan Marcus