Dramaworks’ “Gin Game” plumbs the painful depths of aging

Review

Dramaworks’ “Gin Game” plumbs the painful depths of aging

Jul 26 2010
Bill Hirschman | SouthFloridaTheaterReview.com

Residents of the Bentley Retirement Home are not going gentle into that good night. The septuagenarians are shouting, crying and cursing to punctuate their refusal to lay down and die in Palm Beach Dramaworks' The Gin Game... D.L. Coburn's warhorse may be a comedy in its early stages, but its protagonists, played by Barbara Bradshaw and Peter Haig, are nobody's cutesy codgers. Under J. Barry Lewis' direction, these are life-scarred veterans... You have to admire the courage of a company mounting a tale about seniors struggling against loneliness and mortality smack in front of audiences grappling with the same issues, not to mention their guilt-ridden caretaker children who see the same fate for themselves two decades off. Fonsia gives Bradshaw another showcase for her talent for comic roles with an underlying pathos...Her Fonsia seems a classic sweet old lady but she gradually reveals the more complex woman underneath. Haig's harried expression and a voice that is inexplicably reedy and deep at the same time have elevated dozens of local productions. Here, he credibly runs the gamut from goofily endearing, with a toothy grin, to unleashing a destructive tantrum that blisters the already blistering paint on the porch. Dramaworks once again benefits from a stable of outstanding designers with an attention to detail. Brian O'Keefe's costumes are perfectly chosen... Michael Amico's decaying porch setting is an appropriately dingy environment for the neglected denizens...